'Alberta has fallen way behind': Advocates call for action on youth vaping
EDMONTON -- Alberta is the only province in Canada without legislation to regulate vaping after Saskatchewan introduced amendments to its Tobacco Control Act on Tuesday.
Saskatchewan's changes include restricting the sale of vaping products to minors and banning where they can be consumed. The amendments will take effect in the spring.
Advocacy groups in Alberta want the province to address increasing rates of youth vaping.
“Alberta has fallen way behind other provinces in protecting kids from vaping products and this is completely unacceptable,” Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) said in a written release.
ASH is one of several health organizations that form the Campaign for a Smoke Free Alberta. They want Alberta to prohibit all promotion of vaping products, prevent sales to minors and to align restrictions on vaping with existing rules on tobacco use.
“Youth vaping has reached epidemic proportions and it now threatens to undermine the tremendous progress that has been made in reducing youth smoking over the past few decades,” said Kristyn Berry of the Heart & Stroke Foundation in a written release. “Youth who vape are four times as likely to become smokers.”
The province is currently reviewing the Tobacco, and Smoking Reduction Act. Albertans can participate by completing an online survey, available until Nov. 29.
“I encourage all Albertans to provide their opinions and ideas on how we can better address public health concerns related to these products and, in particular, tackle the alarming surge in vaping among young Albertans," MLA Jeremy Nixon said when the consultation was launched on Oct. 25. "Currently, the act doesn’t explicitly address vaping, so thoughtful and timely action is required."
Any amendments to the legislation would be introduced in 2020.
The government committed to developing and enforcing a tax on vaping products in Budget 2019. It is expected to be included in the spring 2020 budget.