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Nova Scotia to ban flavoured vaping products as of April 1

Besides the ban on flavoured vaping products announced Thursday, Nova Scotia will roll out a public education campaign in the new year and introduce legislation in the upcoming session to further address vaping. - File
HALIFAX, N.S. —

 The Nova Scotia government will ban flavoured e-cigarettes and vaping juice as of April 1. 

The move comes after a recent Smoke-Free Nova Scotia survey concluded that 95 per cent of young Nova Scotians who vape said they prefer flavoured juices and over 48 per cent said they would quit if flavours were banned.

“Obviously this decision is in response to our concerns about growth in particular of youth vaping in Nova Scotia so that’s why we’re taking this step,” Health Minister Randy Delorey told reporters in Halifax after the announcement Thursday. 

Nova Scotia is the first jurisdiction in Canada to announce a full flavour ban.

Studies have shown youth who vape are more likely to try tobacco, Delorey said, “so this is not just about reducing vaping access and us, but also as a means to stem potential transfers into traditional tobacco use.”

The province will roll out a public education campaign in the new year and introduce legislation in the upcoming session to further address vaping.

A letter will be sent to all known retailers of vaping products to inform them of the flavour ban. Delorey said the delay in implementation was partly to give retailers time to adjust to the new policy. 

Representatives of health organizations who attended the news conference welcomed the move but said more must be done to curb youth vaping, such as increasing the legal age from 19 to 21. 

Smoke-Free Nova Scotia director Mohammed Al-Hamdani and Nova Scotia Lung Association CEO Robert MacDonald told reporters that increased taxes on vaping products would help curb youth use. 

Addictions researcher Mohammed Al-Hamdani is shown in a smoking-research lab at Dalhousie University. Al-Hamdani, who is executive director of Smoke-Free Nova, said his organization is seeking a 50 per cent tax increase on vaping products. - File
Addictions researcher Mohammed Al-Hamdani is shown in a smoking-research lab at Dalhousie University. Al-Hamdani, who is executive director of Smoke-Free Nova, said his organization is seeking a 50 per cent tax increase on vaping products. - File

Al-Hamdini organization said a 50 per cent tax hike wouldn’t be out of line.  

“That would still place them at a lower price point in comparison to cigarettes, yet it will aggressively reduce youth vaping rates because they tend to be more price-sensitive.”

In a news release after the announcement, NDP Leader Gary Burrill said more must be done to restrict young people’s access to these products

The NDP tabled legislation this fall that would require tobacco and vaping stores be at least three kilometres away from schools and require vendors to request proof of age from buyers who appear to be under 25, Burrill said. 

 “We’ll be looking for these types of measures from the government when they bring forward their legislation in the spring.”

Delorey wouldn’t comment on the specifics being considered as part of the new vaping legislation his government plans to introduce in the spring. 

“We do have work underway to implement further restrictions that will be part of legislation that will come forward,” he said. “There are no final decisions so I don’t know exactly what but I’ve met with stakeholders like the Canadian Cancer Society, I understand some of the recommendations they have and of course our own public health officials with an understanding and appreciation to further reduce access to these products.”

"Youth vaping rates are way too high and it is harmful so any action that the government could take to address that is a good first step."

- Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston

Kelly Cull, regional director of public policy for the Canadian Cancer Society, told reporters she was “really, really pleased” Nova Scotia has announced a full flavour ban. But her organization also sees the move as a first step. 

“We have a number of recommendations but the core ones would involve first raising the minimum age to 21 as we’ve recently seen done in PEI,” she said. “We’d like to see the number of retail locations for these cigarettes being reduced to adult-only venues. There are a number of other options, things like banning online sales, capping nicotine levels, the things we’ve seen in other jurisdictions.”

Tim Houston, leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives, has been calling for a vaping flavour ban since October, and he also wants to make it illegal for people under 19 to possess any tobacco products. 

Houston said he's also open to conversations about raising the vaping age. 

"But my main focus was the flavours and the youth vaping rates are way too high and it is harmful so any action that the government could take to address that is a good first step," he told reporters after the announcement. 

A vaping product retailer in Halifax said the ban will kill her business and won't address the root cause of the youth vaping problem.

Caitlynne Hines of Halifax Cloud Company on Dutch Village Road said the government should raise taxes and restrict who can sell vaping products.

"What government doesn’t really realize, because they haven’t looked into the root cause of the issue, is kids are getting these products at gas stations and convenience stores where they’re not ID’d," Hines said in an interview from her store.

"They’re not asked if they’re previous smokers, they don’t talk to somebody, if they are a smoker, to get the correct dosage. So kids are getting addicted to this head rush. And that’s all they want, they want that feeling of getting high for a moment and then they become addicted. 

"Only specific dedicated vape shops should be able to sell these products."

Hines said her store is "extremely strict" with IDing customers. 

"Like if someone is on the phone asking somebody else what kind of product they would want, we would not sell someone a product on the off-chance they’re buying for a minor." 

Once the ban comes into effect, "we would have to close. There’s absolutely no way we could survive and it would actually help out the larger tobacco companies who already have things in place for non-flavoured items such as Juul that the cause of the problem in the first place." 

What do you think about Nova Scotia's ban on flavoured vaping juices. Comment are open on this article at SaltWire.com

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