(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

Victoria police are looking for 45-year-old Charlene Woods. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Missing woman last seen in Victoria on New Year’s Day

Police working to locate Charlene Woods, 45

Camosun Cares hampers will be delivered weekly to students for a period of nine weeks. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
Weekly care hampers offered to Camosun College students in need

The Camosun Cares hamper delivers fresh produce, prepared meals, hygiene products and even recipes

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

FILE  - In this Friday, Jan 1, 2021 file photo, a lorry driver's documents are scanned on a phone as he passes a checkpoint for the train through the Eurotunnel link with Europe in Folkestone, England. One month after Britain made a New Year split from the European Union's economic embrace, businesses that once traded freely are getting used to frustrating checks, delays and red tape. Meat exporters say shipments have rotted in trucks awaiting European health checks. Scottish fishermen have protested at Parliament over the catch they can no longer sell to the continent because of byzantine new paperwork. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FINLAYSON: Government should focus on strengthening B.C.’s leading export industries

To revive the economy, this piece in the strategy is integral, writes Jock Finlayson

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Most Read