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Stricter e-cigarette and nicotine pouch regulations required for Canadian youth, group says

Esco Bar disposable vaping pen devices are displayed, Monday, June 26, 2023, in Washington. The number of electronic cigarette devices sold in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 2020, driven almost entirely by a wave of unauthorized disposable vapes from China, according to sales data obtained by the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Esco Bar disposable vaping pen devices are displayed, Monday, June 26, 2023, in Washington. The number of electronic cigarette devices sold in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 2020, driven almost entirely by a wave of unauthorized disposable vapes from China, according to sales data obtained by the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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A health advocacy group is holding an event in Calgary on Monday to draw attention to the need for more rules regarding vaping and e-cigarettes for youth.

Stop Addicting Adolescents to Vaping and E-Cigarettes (SAAVE) is calling for stricter regulations for e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

Among their concerns, the group wants to see a ban on all vaping flavours, except tobacco, single-use vaping devices and nicotine pouches until they are in plain packaging behind the pharmacy counter.

They say these changes will "protect children and youth from nicotine addiction and the health consequences of vaping and smoking."

It is important to note, it is illegal to sell, or provide vaping products to anyone under the age of 18 in Canada. In some provinces, the age limit is 19 or 21.

"A responsible government would prevent a highly addictive substance from being marketed in a fashion that encourages use by youth," said internal medicine specialist, Dr. Norman R. Campbell C.M.

"This highly addictive chemical already has a tragic history in Canada with tobacco use, which is still the number one risk for death in our country."

For 30 years, Dr. Bruce Yaholnitsky has been speaking with patients about smoking and the risk it poses to mouth health.

The periodontist and past president of the Alberta Dental Association says over that span of time there has been a significant decrease in the number of smokers.

"Unfortunately, in the past (five) years, I have seen a proportionate increase in people with gum problems who are (vaping). These patients are in my office at a younger age and present with gum tissue that is inflamed and damaged," said Yaholnitsky.

"We are also noticing an increase in tooth decay that can be associated with the sweetening and flavouring products used in vaping products."

SAAVE member Raneet Kahlon recalls seeing her fellow high school student's vaping, making it seem "trivial."

"The candy-like packaging and flavours of nicotine products are very tempting. I worry for my younger sister who is going to high school next year," said Kahlon. "But why should I have to worry? Why don't governments protect her?

"Governments must ban flavours and single-use vaping devices now to protect youth from vaping and nicotine addiction."

SAAVE is hosting a call to action, inviting parents and teachers to attend at 1:30 p.m. at the Parkdale Community Hall located at 3512 Fifth Ave. N.W.

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