ALBERTA GOVERNMENT URGED TO BAN FLAVOURED VAPING PRODUCTS
Provincial government consultation on tobacco legislation ends today
Edmonton - Health groups are calling for a ban on flavoured vaping products as a mandatory government review of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act draws to a close. The wide availability and heavy promotion of flavoured vaping products is attributed to the explosive rise in teen vaping.
“We simply can’t allow vaping and tobacco companies to wantonly target young people with flavours like cotton candy, bubblegum, mango, cherry and mint” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH). A growing number of states and provinces are approving bans on flavoured tobacco products including Montana, Washington, Oregon and Prince Edward Island. Alberta kids deserved first-class protection from all forms of flavoured vaping products. We urge the Alberta government to put the health of Alberta kids ahead of the brazen commercial interests of unscrupulous drug pushers.”
Last week, Prince Edward Island became the latest government to approve legislation to ban flavoured vaping products. Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories recently passed legislation to authorize bans on flavoured vaping products. The states of Montana, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Rhode Island and New York have all approved bans on flavoured vaping products within the last few months.
In 2013, Alberta became the first jurisdiction in North America to approve legislation to ban almost all flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. This move was widely applauded by health organizations around the world. Alberta health groups are now urging the government to demonstrate similar leadership to curtail flavoured vaping use among youth.
“Alberta was a global leader in protecting youth from flavoured tobacco products” said Kayla Atkey of the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention. “Now it’s time to protect Alberta youth from flavoured vaping products. The provincial government needs to stop tobacco and vaping companies in their tracks before matters get worse. There are over 35,000 Alberta youth using flavoured vaping products and that’s 35,000 too many”.
Over 35,000 school aged youth were using flavoured vaping products when last measured in 2017 and the number is expected to be higher today. In 2018, Juul and other flavoured “stealth” vaping products were introduced to the Canadian market following the passage of flawed Federal vaping legislation.
“The Alberta government can’t rely on the Federal government to solve the youth vaping problem” said Les Hagen. “The Federal legislation that was passed in 2018 has only made a bad situation worse by allowing vaping and tobacco companies to flood the market with flavoured vaping products that appeal to youth. The wide availability of these products has been accompanied by aggressive predatory marketing campaigns that are targeting kids through social media, retail promotions, broadcast, print and outdoor advertising. Tobacco companies haven’t been allowed to engage in this degree of outrageous promotion for 50 years in Canada.”
A public consultation on the provincial Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act closes today. The consultation is part of a mandatory five-year review of the legislation that was announced last month by health minister Tyler Shandro and is led by Calgary MLA Jeremy Nixon.
The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta submitted a number of recommended amendments to the review, including the need for a comprehensive ban on flavoured vaping products with the exception of “tobacco” flavour to assist smokers that want to quit smoking using vaping products.
Albertans can have their say on tobacco and vaping legislation by visiting www.protectalbertakids.ca.
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Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546
Kayla Atkey @ 780-492-0493.