BC will restrict vapour product access, flavours, nicotine content, packaging and advertising to protect youth from risks associated with vaping.
The province also intends to increase taxes on vapour products. Government plans to introduce legislation later this month to increase the provincial sales tax (PST) rate applied to vaping products from 7% to 20%, which would make BC the first province in Canada to introduce a specific tax rate related to vaping products.
The new tax rate would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and would be applied to all vaping devices, the substance or juice that is used with the vaping device and any vaping part or accessory.
The new regulations will also restrict the amount of nicotine in vapour pods and liquid to 20mg/ml and will require plain packaging for vapour products that include health warnings.
Public advertising of vapour products will also be restricted in areas where youth spend time, such as bus shelters or community parks. The sale of vapour flavours, other than tobacco flavours, will only be allowed in age-restricted shops.
The regulations will come into force in spring 2020 after engagement with stakeholders. The regulations will be supported by a youth-led anti-vaping social media campaign to de-normalize vaping.
The legislation change would also include increasing the tobacco tax rate by two cents. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the tax applied would be 29.5 cents per cigarette and 39.5 cents per gram of loose tobacco. Nicotine gum, patches and similar smoking cessation products would continue to be exempt from the PST.
The Province has also partnered with the B.C. Lung Association to work with youth to build a vaping prevention toolkit that has been piloted in some schools. This initiative will begin expanding immediately to schools across the province, providing information for educators, parents and youth to use when having discussions and making choices about vaping.
The Province’s quit-smoking resource, QuitNow, will also be updated to include new quit-vaping resources for youth.
“Some vaping manufacturers are using flavours and advertising to entice and normalize vaping for youth – introducing a new generation to very high levels of a very addictive drug,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“As a result, youth vaping rates are rising, putting them at risk for addiction and serious illness. That’s why we are bringing in the most comprehensive plan in the country, and supporting young people to end this dangerous trend.”