BC Liberals call for immediate action to curb youth vape use

Todd Stone

TODD Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, on Thursday introduced the Vulnerable Adolescents Protection from E-cigarettes (VAPE) Act 2019 in the Legislature.

“Vaping and e-cigarette use is quickly becoming an epidemic among the youth of British Columbia,” said Stone. “Recent Canadian estimates suggest that a third of students in grades 10 through 12 are vaping, outpacing tobacco use at an alarming rate. By enticing youth with sugary flavouring, tobacco companies are lining their pocketbooks as a generation of kids succumb to nicotine addiction. It is baffling and simply dangerous that more is not happening immediately to quell this. Government needs to act on this now.”

This bill contains amendments to the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act in an effort to better keep these addictive products out of the hands of our children. These amendments include banning the sale of flavoured vapour products, limiting the supply and accessibility of e-cigarette products through stricter retail controls, restricting the sale of products to adult-only tobacco stores, vape stores and approved pharmacies, and enacting tougher penalties for non-compliance.

“Alongside these amendments I am also calling on government to provide the resources needed in every middle and high school across B.C. to implement evidence-based vaping awareness, prevention and support programs,” added Stone.

“Addiction is not something lost on British Columbians,” said North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite. “Addiction can ruin lives and destroy futures. Every year vaping creates more addicts, and studies show that adolescent e-cigarette use correlates to cigarette use later in life. Parents are calling for immediate action from government to address this growing epidemic. There needs to be a concerted effort to intervene, take real steps, set real controls and create real change.”

“The fruity flavours, slick packaging, and ease of use are appealing factors for young people to try vaping, but they mask serious health risks under their kid-friendly cover,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “Though touted as a ‘safer alternative’ to smoking, e-cigarettes are still laden with toxins like formaldehyde and contain highly-addictive nicotine. We know that this can be very damaging to a developing adolescent brain. Government needs to act now before more teens get hooked on vaping, more lives are damaged by addiction, and more strain is put on our health care system.”

This bill continues work done by the previous government to limit youth access to vaping products. In 2016, the former B.C. Liberal government implemented amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to regulate e-cigarettes.