Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, and the Hon. Anita Anand, Member of Parliament for Oakville, held a roundtable on January 13th with provincial, regional and local counterparts, the medical profession, the Halton District School Board and the Canadian Cancer Society to discuss rising concerns regarding youth vaping. The meeting included presentations by Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health and the Canadian Cancer Society. Working with other orders of government, the medical community and stakeholders, the government is committed to better protect youth from the risks of vaping.
The self-reported rate of youth vaping has increased substantially, from 29% in 2017 to 37% in 2018. Health Canada has issued a safety alert for vaping associated lung illness after 15 confirmed cases in Canada. Currently, the maximum legal amount of nicotine per milliliter is 66mg/ml, this is more than the cigarette maximum of 60mg, with most commercial vape products delivering a 59mg dose of nicotine per single inhale.
In December of 2019, the Federal government proposed an advertising ban on e-cigarettes in locations seen or heard by youth. Regulations regarding product packaging were also announced, including a health warning and indication of nicotine level on the packaging, as well as child-proof packaging. Health Canada has allocated $14 million in grants and contributions funding to address tobacco use and vaping through the Substance Use and Addictions Programs. A micro-grant program was launched to provide grants of up to $1,000 to individuals and organizations for community and school based events and projects to counter youth vaping. Interested groups and organizations can contact Health Canada at SUAP-PUDS@hc-sc.gc.ca for more information. Additional measures with respect to nicotine concentration limits and flavor restrictions are under consideration by the federal government. Health
Canada encourages Canadians to contact them (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they see any vaping product promotions targeting youth or any other violations of the Act. These regulations serve as a regulatory floor, provinces are able to build on them and introduce further regulations if they so choose.
In Ontario, regulations came into effect on January 1st that ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, and the Ontario Ministry of Health is conducting internal consultation of potentially limiting the sale of flavoured e-cigarette pods.
The Town of Oakville has a history of quick action when it comes to passing by-laws to protect the health of its residents. An updated by-law is expected to be brought before Regional Council in March of this year that will limit where people are allowed to vape in public, and research is being done regarding the town’s ability to implement higher licensing fees for stores selling e-cigarettes, as well as the revocation of business licenses for stores selling e-cigarettes to minors.
“As a long-time advocate for the prevention of youth vaping, I am heartened by the productive roundtable to determine the gaps in existing legislation and how best to protect our youth. There is more work to do, but working together I am hopeful we can move forward to help Canadians.”
– Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, MP for Oakville North-Burlington
“Our government has taken action to address concerns around vaping and how vaping products are marketed, but we know there’s more to do and that this important conversation needs to continue. I will not hesitate to push for more changes to better protect our youth and all Canadians here in Oakville and across the country.” – Hon. Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, MP for Oakville
“I was pleased to attend this roundtable dealing with an issue I see more and more in my practice. There was a lot discussed and revealed during the meeting. I now feel confident that my vulnerable patients’ health concerns are being seriously addressed by politicians at all civic levels.” – Dr. Rick MacDonald, MD
Moving forward, the group has agreed to meet in six months to continue the discussion about this important health concern.