- News Release -
Edmonton - A coalition of prominent health organizations is extending a hand to help the Alberta government develop new regulations to ban flavoured vaping products as soon as possible.  Last night, the Legislative Assembly passed Bill 19—the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act.

“We applaud the Alberta government for regulating the sale and marketing of vaping products including the authority to ban flavoured vaping products” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health.  “We advise the government to enact regulations as soon as possible to adequately protect Alberta youth from the predatory marketing practices of tobacco and nicotine companies.  Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from nicotine vaping products and a flavour ban would help to provide such protection”.

The Minister of Health has indicated that it was not possible to introduce the regulation along with Bill 19 because of COVID-19 related activities.

“Published evidence confirms that the majority of youth who try and continue to use vaping products do so because the products are flavoured” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society.  “Flavourings increase the likelihood that youth will experiment and use vaping products.  Given the strong link between the appeal of flavours and youth consumption of vaping products, a comprehensive flavour ban with the exception of ‘tobacco’ flavour will be key to preventing and reducing youth vaping”.

Restrictions on flavors are also important for protecting the health of smokers who are using vaping products to quit smoking. Many of the chemical flavourings have not been demonstrated to be safe for inhalation, and there is a growing body of evidence related to their toxicity.

Last week, the State of Montana became the latest jurisdiction to announce its intention to ban flavoured vaping products in addition to existing bans in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Washington state, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officers also urged the provincial government to ban flavoured tobacco products in a national consensus statement issued earlier this year.

“Alberta was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to ban flavoured tobacco products” said Les Hagen.  “One of the Alberta government’s stated intentions of Bill 19 is to align restrictions on tobacco products with those on vaping products.  In order to achieve this alignment and to better protect Alberta youth, the government needs to use its new regulatory authority to ban flavoured vaping products. As Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officers indicated, it is important that all Canadian governments take every possible step to curb the youth vaping epidemic. Protection delayed is protection denied.”

Bill 19 aligns most restrictions on the sale and retail promotion of vaping products with existing restrictions on tobacco products.  However this alignment does not currently extend to Alberta’s celebrated ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco.

Youth vaping has soared in Alberta over the past few years with 50,000 Alberta youth in grades 6 to 12 reporting vaping in the past 30 days in the 2018/2019 school year.  This increase coincided with the introduction of sleek, flavoured, high nicotine “stealth” vaping products like Juul, Vype and Logic into the Canadian market.

Youth who vape are four times as likely to start smoking.  Vaping and smoking share the same fundamental health hazard—nicotine addiction.  Tobacco kills over 4,000 Albertans annually representing the single largest cause of preventable premature death in the province.

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Angeline Webb @ 780-239-5295
Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546