B.C.'s health minister wants youth input, advertising rules and federal action on vaping
Vaping has become a popular trend among teens and B.C.'s health minister says the province is considering options for how to raise awareness about its effects.
A study from the University of Waterloo found that between 2017 and 2018, the number of youth saying they had vaped within the last 30 days jumped by eight per cent in Canada.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix told CTV Morning Live Thursday that the marketing around vaping is partly to blame.
"Vaping is marketed, often, as harm reduction. So if you've been smoking for 20 years and you use vaping to mitigate that, that might be a good thing," he said. "Less harmful doesn't mean not harmful."
Dix said elements of vaping are attractive for young people, include the device itself and the different flavours available.
"There's some flavouring that's clearly marketed to children that needs to be dealt with," he said.
And some of the rules applied to cigarettes don't seem to be applied to vaping, he said.
"You can go to a SkyTrain station and see vaping ads, you certainly can't do that with cigarette ads, so we have to review all those questions," Dix said.
But the problem isn't just regulation, he said, because vaping is already prohibited for youth.
"We have to get youth involved, because vaping is not allowed under 19 in British Columbia," he said. "Not allowed, and yet it's happening. So it's not just an issue of changing the law, the law already says it can't happen. We have to engage young people."
With advertising and awareness, Dix said he hopes vaping will one day become frowned upon.
"It became socially unacceptable to smoke. It is not socially unacceptable to vape right now," he said. "It can't just be politicians making decisions, it's got to be young people involved as well."
Dix said the province has been in several talk with the federal government, but worries they might get distracted by the upcoming election.
"I'm concerned the federal process is taking too long," he said. "I'm concerned … they're not going to take the action they need to. So you're going to see some action from us this year."