Province looking to align vaping regulations with smoking
CALGARY -- Alberta’s health minister Tyler Shandro has introduced new legislation that puts tough restrictions on businesses and operators who sell vaping products, and in turn makes it difficult for youth to purchase that merchandise.
“This proposed legislation sends a strong message to youth, and anyone who thinks it is okay to supply them with vaping products – there will be fines for possession and consumption,” said Shandro.
“Selling or giving these products to minors will have consequences.”
Youth caught vaping can face fines of $100 per offence. If anyone is caught selling to a minor, a $500 fine will be imposed.
Businesses will have to adhere to strict advertising rules, meaning there will be restrictions on displaying or promoting products. with a $500 fine for any business in violation.
“There would be a period of time for businesses to be aware of what our expectations are going to be of them and for them to align with the various measures, including display,” said Shandro.
The proposed legislation does not ban flavours in vaping products, but allows for the province to ban them, if enough evidence is brought forward that it puts youth in danger.
“Just with the bandwidth that the government has at this time, for our public health folks, I think its quite a bit for us to be asking them (to ban flavours),” said Shandro.
Bill 19 - The Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, follows a review of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.
● Minors will not be permitted to consume or possess vaping products
● Sales to minors will be prohibited
● Photo ID requirements for purchasing vaping products
● Display, advertising and promotion of vaping products will be restricted
● There will be restrictions on where vaping products can be sold
● Smoke- and vape-free areas will be expanded
● An authority will be created to regulate flavours (in future, if needed)
● There will be fines for violations
The province says there was a rapid rise in the number of youth in grades 10-12 who vape between 2014-15 and 2018-19, rising from eight per cent to 30 per cent.
Vaping products will not be allowed to be sold in health facilities, retail stores with pharmacies and public post secondary schools.
Sales of vaping products will be prohibited in health facilities, public post- secondary institutions and retail stores where pharmacies are located.
Smoke and vape-free areas will also be expanded to hospitals, schools, childcare properties, playgrounds, sports or playing fields, skateboard and bicycle parks.
Calgary Vapor manager Jacob Martin said he welcomes the new legislation.
“We have quite a few parents who come in and try and buy for their kids and stuff,” said Martin.
Martin adds that vaping is a good substitute for those adults looking to quit smoking.
“Do I believe vaping helps with a lot of quitting and lean off of cigarettes? 100 per cent,” he said.
“Seen it first hand from my dad.”
The province says that evidence shows vaping has immediate and long-term health risks, such as lung damage, nicotine poisoning and addiction.
Albertans who smoke or vape also appear to be at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19.
The province says there was a rapid rise in the number of youth in grades 10-12 who vape between 2014-15 and 2018-19, rising from 8 percent to 30 percent.
More than 9,500 Albertans were surveyed, nearly half being parents.
The province expects to save more than $6 billion over the next four years in the health care system, by having stricter measures surrounding tobacco and vaping use of Albertans.
A Health Canada report noted that 35,000 youth in Alberta vape.
If passed, the legislation would be proclaimed in the fall.