(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

E-cigarettes sold in B.C. will have to follow a lot more regulations as of 2020.

In an announcement Thursday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said vaping products sold in B.C. stores will have limits on the amount of nicotine, be subject to a 20 per cent tax, and restrict where candy and fruit flavours are sold.

Dix said the move was sparked by a 74 per cent spike in vaping among high school aged youth between 2017 and 2018. It’s illegal to sell vaping products in B.C. to anyone under the age of 19.

“If you have not been vaping, vaping is not a good idea,” Dix said on Thursday.

Nicotine levels for vaping products sold in B.C. will be restricted to 20 milligrams per millimetre, based on research from other jurisdictions, Dix said.

He cited the United Kingdom, which has the same restrictions and much lower levels of youth vaping.

Dr. Khairun Jivani, the director of cancer control for the B.C. and Yukon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, said studies show that one in five youth have vaped in the past 30 days.

There are currently seven probable and confirmed cases of vaping-related illness in Canada. That includes three probable cases in B.C., the most of any province.

Dix said the province will declare nicotine a “public health hazard,” which will allow them to regulate the amount of nicotine in vaping products sold in B.C.

READ MORE: Three cases of probable vaping-related illness in B.C.: Health Canada

Jivani said the change is important because nicotine is highly addictive.

“Nicotine devices have high levels of nicotine, as much as a pack of cigarettes,” she said.

“We know that nicotine can alter brain function… and lead to cognitive and behavioural problems.”

Jivani also cited chemicals in vaping products that are approved for use in food, but have not been studied when they are vapourized in e-cigarettes.

Youth who use vaping products also have a higher rate of moving onto tobacco, Jivani noted.

Finance Minister Carole James said the 20 per cent tax on vaping products would be the first such tax in Canada. If passed, the 13 per cent increase in the provincial sales tax for vaping products will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

If passed, the measure is expected to bring in $2.5 million this fiscal year, and $10 million in the 2020-2021 year. The tax on tobacco products generates about $25 million per fiscal year.

James noted that the vaping tax hike is not meant to generate revenue, but increase the price enough to act as a deterrent.

Dix said that the restrictions on fruit and candy flavoured will cut down the number of stores in B.C. where non-tobacco flavoured products can be sold from 90,000 potential locations to a somewhere in the hundreds. Some vaping flavours will be fully banned, Dix said, but declined to elaborate on what those will be.

None of these rules will apply to vaping products sold online, as that is regulated federally. Dix said the province was hoping the feds would bring in similar regulations nationwide as B.C. has here.

Health Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said age-appropriate resources will be brought into schools as part of a vaping prevention toolkit.

Fleming told reporters that young people had been “conned and duped by big tobacco when it comes to vaping.”

Fleming said there are a “bunch of myths out there… that vaping isn’t smoking, that vaping isn’t addictive, that vaping is not linked to cancer.”

He said that where the vaping industry either actively perpetuated these beliefs, or made sure not to discourage them.

READ MORE: Health Canada ‘actively monitoring’ U.S. vaping illness

READ MORE: 73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Extensive water on No. 4 and 5 at the Mount Brenton Golf Course following heavy rains earlier this month. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mount Brenton Golf Course does a booming business in 2020

A total of 15,000 more rounds played than the previous year

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

A tip from the public helped Victoria police located and arrest wanted men Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Tips lead police to arrest convicted killer, robber near downtown Victoria

Two men were at large after failing to return to community facility

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival is breaching for a COVID-safe return in March. (Poster photo by Owen Crosby)
Pacific Rim Whale Festival aims for virtual return in March

Educational celebration scheduled to arrive in Tofino-Ucluelet on March 15.

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Most Read