NEW ALBERTA REGULATIONS FAIL TO PROTECT YOUTH FROM FLAVOURED VAPING PRODUCTS
- News Release -
Edmonton – Yesterday, the Alberta government announced new regulations to accompany youth vaping legislation approved in the Legislative Assembly last June. The regulations align provincial restrictions on vaping product sales, advertising, display, and consumption with those on tobacco.
However, the new regulations do not place any restrictions on flavoured vaping products, which are a primary driver of the youth vaping epidemic. In 2015, Alberta was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to implement a comprehensive ban on flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes.
“Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from flavoured vaping products and the provincial government is deferring this protection to the Federal government” said Nina Snyder of the Lung Association of Alberta/NWT. “To make things worse, the Federal government recently announced proposed national regulations on flavoured vaping products that could exempt mint and menthol flavourings, which are the second most popular flavour category among youth who vape. Both levels of government are falling short in protecting youth from flavoured vaping products.”
“We commend the Alberta government for aligning provincial restrictions on the sale, advertising, display, and consumption of vaping products with those on tobacco,” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health. “Alberta has become the first province in Canada to align public restrictions on smoking and vaping with provincial restrictions on cannabis consumption and we hope that other provinces will follow. This alignment will simplify enforcement and it will help to maintain nonsmoking norms. To a five-year-old, smoking is smoking whether it involves smoking, vaping, or toking. Modeling is an essential element of childhood development and youth who are regularly exposed to smoking cues are more likely to become smokers themselves. Smoke-free spaces laws are one of the most effective strategies to reduce and prevent tobacco use.”
The new regulations include an exemption for minors to sell tobacco and vaping products in retail stores, and they allow certain establishments to create cigar lounges.
“The exemption for cigar lounges is a regressive and disturbing setback for the health of Alberta workers and others who will be exposed to secondhand cigar smoke,” said Angeline Webb with the Canadian Cancer Society. “All workers deserve uniform protection from secondhand smoke, including those who work in precarious employment sectors like retail and hospitality. This exemption cannot be justified from a public health perspective and we encourage municipalities to close this harmful loophole”.
Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds including dozens of carcinogens and it has no safe level of exposure according to Health Canada and the World Health Organization.
The new Alberta vaping rules will come into force on July 31 at which time all 10 provinces will have implemented legislation to regulate vaping products. Fifty-thousand Alberta youth in grades 7 to 12 used vaping products in the past 30 days, according to the last national survey conducted by Health Canada in 2019.
Youth who vape are three times more likely to become smokers. Tobacco is the leading avoidable cause of disease, disability, and death, claiming the lives of over 4,000 Albertans annually.
- 30 -
Nina Snyder @ 780-224-0005
Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546
Angeline Webb @ 780-239-5295