Today, amendments to The Tobacco Control Act were passed unanimously by the Legislative Assembly allowing the province to move quickly to ensure regulation of vaping and vaping products is in line with existing tobacco legislation.
“Quick passage of this legislation demonstrates how important it is to further protect our youth from vaping,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said in a government release. “I want to thank our partners and health stakeholders for their support for this legislation and look forward to consulting with them again on the regulations and how to best address flavoured vaping products.”
Over the next months, the Ministry of Health will proceed with the necessary supporting regulations to address both the restrictions on vaping and vaping products and the enforcement. New signage prohibiting vaping will be made available for public buildings, retail locations and school properties. It is anticipated that The Tobacco Control Act amendments and supporting regulations will be in force in early 2020.
Introduced on November 5, the amendments in Bill 182 will:
• restrict the sale of vapour/e-cigarette devices and products to individuals 18 years of age and older;
• prohibit the display of vapour/e-cigarette products in a retail business where young persons have access;
• restrict the use of vapour/e-cigarette products in and around public buildings, including schools and school grounds, in the same manner as our provincial tobacco legislation;
• prohibit the sale of vapour/e-cigarette products from specified facilities such as amusement parks, arcades, and theatres where youth frequent; and
• restrict advertising of vapour/e-cigarette products in the same manner as tobacco products by prohibiting advertising signs and promotional signs in areas where young persons can enter.
Geoff Auckland of the Vape Shack in Yorkton said the government has headed in the right direction.
“It’s good. It hits a lot of things that are good for the vape industry,” he said, adding a key is “to keep it out of the hands of high school students and young people.”
Vaping products were never supposed to be a ‘hobby’ product for youth, but a cessation product for people wanting to quit smoking, said Auckland.
At the same time Auckland said he is happy to see that the new regulations are not prohibiting the same of flavoured vaping products.
“It’s left the flavours alone for a while at least,” he said, adding that is crucial as flavoured products make up about 95 per cent of product sales.
More important is to “cap the nicotine levels,” said Auckland, adding while he doesn’t stock them the ultra-high nicotine level products are the ones that are addictive.
Auckland said most vape shops have been proactive in ensuring no sales to minors and avoiding high nicotine products.
“So shops are not going to be effected that much,” he said.
The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) has also come out as supporting the provincial government’s steps to control and regulate vaping in Saskatchewan, particularly among youth.
However, in a release the SMA stated it remains hopeful more stringent laws will be considered in the future.
“The SMA applauds Health Minister Jim Reiter’s announcement today of new vaping regulations. They have been a long time in coming and are particularly important now, as vaping among youth continues to rise in Canada at an alarming rate,” said Dr. Mark Brown, a Moose Jaw family physician, in an SMA release.
A British Medical Journal study released in June revealed a 74 per cent increase in vaping among Canadian youth from 2017 to 2018. Dr. Brown noted Saskatchewan’s physicians took a stand against vaping at the SMA’s 2019 Fall Representative Assembly in Saskatoon last weekend. Dr. Brown presented the following three resolutions, which were passed on Friday, Nov. 1, by delegates representing the province’s doctors:
• That the Saskatchewan Medical Association urge the Government of Saskatchewan to ban the sale of tobacco, marijuana, and vaping products to anyone under 21.
• That the Saskatchewan Medical Association urge the Government of Saskatchewan to apply the same laws that prohibit the consumption, promotion and display of tobacco products to vaping products.
• That the Saskatchewan Medical Association call upon the Government of Saskatchewan to ban flavoured vaping products from sale in Saskatchewan.
“Saskatchewan’s physicians asked for vaping laws that aim to reduce promotion and consumption similar to tobacco legislation, and the government has delivered in this area,” Dr. Brownsaid in the SMA release.
“However, physiciansbelieve that flavoured vaping products should be banned from sale in the province, which the government isnot proposing at this time. Also, physicians favour a ban on sales of vaping products -and tobacco and marijuana –for anyone under 21,and the government has set the age at 18,” Dr. Brownnoted.
“The SMA, and Saskatchewan’s physicians,will continue to press for more stringent regulations in these areas. Physicians are extremely concerned about the effects vaping will have on the health of users in Saskatchewan.