March 2, 2020
Young people putting their health at risk by using vaping products is an issue I am very concerned about. Parents are asking me what action the government is going to take about vaping. We don’t yet fully know vaping’s health effects but early studies show that vaping can lead to a greater likelihood of tobacco use – and we know the negative health effects of smoking.
It is illegal to sell a vapour product to someone under 19 in Ontario, but our government is doing more to keep vaping products away from teens. Health Minister Christine Elliott has proposed new rules that would restrict flavoured and high-nicotine vape products to specialty vape stores, which are only open to those 19 and over. We will also work with online retailers to enforce age restrictions for online sales and require that displays in vape stores are not visible from the outside.
Mental health and addiction services will be expanded to include vaping and nicotine addiction, and Telehealth Ontario will offer one number for people trying to quit.
A 2019 survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that vaping use by youth had doubled in two years. 23% of students in Grades 7-12 in the survey had tried a vaping product in the past year and one-in-eight students were vaping weekly or daily.
These numbers are alarming to me and to many parents. Many young people do not understand the addictive nature of nicotine – or its negative health effects. Most now recognize that cigarettes are unhealthy, but have not yet understood the dangers of vaping.
We are gathering more evidence on the effects of vaping and last September the Minister of Health directed hospitals to provide the government with statistical information related to the incidence of vaping-related severe pulmonary disease.
Our government has also called on the federal government to implement a national tax on vaping products. Heart and Stroke Ontario has also recommended that Ottawa impose a tax and its Chair has said that they have had many opportunities to lead, but “…so far, they have not delivered.”
It’s important that parents find out more about the dangers of vaping and talk to their teens about it. You can find out more about the risks of vaping at ontario.ca/page/risks-vaping.