Health minister introducing vaping restrictions to protect Saskatchewan youth

According to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco. Different brands or models of e-cigarettes contain different amounts of nicotine. ( Commons)

Sask. Medical Association and Canadian Cancer Society say it’s a good first step, but more needs to be done

Provincial Health Minister Jim Reiter announced proposed changes to the Tobacco Control Act to include vaping restrictions on Tuesday.

The amendments to Bill 133 include:

  • restricting the sale of vapour and e-cigarette products to those 18 years and older
  • prohibiting the display of vapour and e-cigarette products in retail businesses where youth may have access
  • restricting the use of vapour and e-cigarette products in and around public buildings, including school grounds
  • prohibiting the sale of vapour and e-cigarette products in facilities such as amusement parks, arcades and theatres
  • restricting advertising of vapour and e-cigarette products by prohibiting advertising signs and promotional signs where youth can see
  • provide the ability ti restrict the sale of flavoured tobacco and vapour products by regulation
  • expand the authority of tobacco enforcement officers to include these vapour and e-cigarette restrictions

These changes are consistent with most provinces that have vaping legislation and are in line with Saskatchewan’s tobacco restrictions.

If passed, the new rules will take effect next spring.

“This legislation is an important step in protecting Saskatchewan youth in particular from the harms of vaping products,” said Reiter in a news release.

“If you don’t smoke, there is no need to vape.”

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) and Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) are welcoming the changes, but said the province should still consider further adjustments.

Dr. Mark Brown, a Moose Jaw family physician, thanked Reiter, saying vaping among Canadian youth is increasing at an alarming rate.

A British Medical Journey study showed a 74 per cent increase in vaping among youth in Canada from 2017 to 2018, which the CCS also pointed out in their news release.

However, Brown said physicians suggest that flavoured vaping products should be banned from sale in the province and that the legal age should be 21, not 18.

“Physicians are extremely concerned about the effects vaping will have on the health of users in Saskatchewan,” he said.

The CCS is also calling for an older minimum age to buy both e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

Senior Policy Analyst Rob Cunnigham said it should be raised to at least 19, but ideally the legal age would be 21. He also asked for prohibition of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, saying they should only be sold in adult specialty stores.

“There is no reason for the tobacco and electronic cigarette age to be 18, lower than the alcohol and cannabis age of 19,” he said.

“While this ban is a step in the right direction, more action is required if we hope to stop a new generation of young people from becoming addicted to nicotine through electronic cigarettes.”

The CCS says youth who use e-cigarettes with nicotine may become addicted and are at an increased risk of becoming smokers.