B.C. considers following Washington State on tougher vaping laws
British Columbia is considering tougher vaping laws after a spike in reported vaping-related illnesses.
Of particular concern is the number of teens taking up the habit.
Washington State has now banned flavoured vaping products to try and deter young people, but vaping advocates say that won't fix the problem.
"About 20 per cent, one in five, Grade 7 to 12 [students] were vaping with nicotine,” said Dr. Ingrid Tyler of the Fraser Health Authority.
Those statistics are from a recent survey by the McCreary Centre Society.
"There's something about the vapes that is inherently attractive to youth. They're kind of cool, they use technology,” said Tyler.
Washington State is the latest to ban flavoured vaping products.
"We do not have evidence at the moment that the flavoring chemistry itself is the reason for the disease. But it is the reason for the disease because it is hooking our children on the product in the first place,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
"I think it makes a lot of common sense because it is very intuitive that these flavours would be highly appealing to kids,” Tyler told CTV News Vancouver.
B.C. is also looking at creating stricter rules.
“It's a difficult task we've been working on,” said Premier John Horgan at a press conference Friday.
Those who work in the industry say a ban misses the mark.
"Kids aren't doing this for the flavours. They're doing it for the instant buzz they're getting,” said Ryan Green, the General Manager of Digital Vapor in Surrey.
Green says the real problem is a lack of enforcement at some stores.
"We saw a spike in youth vaping when products like Juul came on the market and were available at convenience stores and gas stations,” explained Green.
Others say bans will only push those trying to quit smoking to the black market.
"Smoking is just so addictive that there has to be a little bit more. A little bit more to vaping in order to get people off those cigarettes,” said Piper De Marsh, of the Cloverdale Vapor Room.
In many cases, those who have fallen ill have vaped both nicotine and cannabis products.
Health Canada is urging vapers who experience shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing to see a doctor.