Amid growing health concerns from vaping, the Ontario government
is banning vaping ads at convenience stores and gas stations.
The province announced that effective Jan. 1 it will be “banning the promotion of vapour products in convenience stores and gas stations.”
Vaping ads will only be allowed in specialty vape and cannabis retail stores where customers must be at least 19 years old to enter under the new rules.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said she made the decision in response to new research that showed vaping is on the rise among youth in the province.
“That’s a big concern to me,” she said. “I know that is a big concern to parents and families and I’m concerned about the potential health effects the increase in vaping has brought forward so we are starting with this prohibition of advertising.”
Elliott said in a press release that “restricting the promotion of vapour products in retail stores will help prevent youth from being exposed and influenced by promotion in retail settings.”
The government is amending a provincial regulation to bring vaping rules in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco promotion.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) has applauded the new restrictions to vaping products.
“Our position is clear, vaping devices should not be used by non-smokers and especially not by young people,” said the association in a press release.
The OMA wrote to Minister Elliott in September and recommended that the government:
*Expand restrictions on the marketing and promotion of vaping products.
*Expand restrictions of flavouring for vape juice, e-juice and e-liquid.
*Develop awareness campaigns to educate the public, especially youth, about the harmful risks of vaping.
A year ago, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco – which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation – asked the Ontario government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.
The groups said at the time that it would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers, and on Friday the group’s director applauded the move by the government.
“It’s pretty clear the government has looked at the evidence
that has been published on youth vaping on how it’s growing in Ontario since
they legalized promotion in retail settings,” said Michael Perley, director of
the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco.
“The evidence says they need to do more to stop messaging to young people … that these products are normal and just like candy and pop that kids go into convenience stores to look for.”
Ontario now joins seven other Canadian provinces which have introduced similar restrictions on vaping promotion.
According to the latest research, vaping has been on the rise among those aged 16 to 19 years old. From 2017 to 2018, there has been a 74 per cent in vaping in that age group.
Elliott had ordered all public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease. On that same day, health officials in London, Ont., said a teen who was using e-cigarettes daily suffered a severe case of pulmonary illness.
The teen was initially on life support but is now recovering at home after being treated in an intensive care unit according to the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.
Daniel David, president of the Vaping Industry Trade Association said the voice of that sector has not been heard by the Ontario government and called the ban “disappointing.”
Daniel David said the ban will prevent smokers from becoming aware of an option that is less harmful than tobacco.
“We strongly support measures that will restrict youth access, however this must be balanced to ensure that adult smokers still have access to these products,” he said in a statement.