VICTORIA (November 28, 2019) – BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone is expressing cautious optimism that actions are now beginning to unfold to address the rapid rise of vaping in B.C. However, he continues to reiterate that actions must be implemented quickly, and there needs to be maximum transparency and accountability to ensure that any PST collected on new vapour products is invested in robust education programs.
“While the Taxation Statutes Amendment Act, 2019, is one component of a comprehensive action plan needed to reduce vaping rates among British Columbia’s youth, we were disappointed to see the NDP government strike down several of our proposed amendments,” says Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “It’s critical to ensure the revenue collected from increasing the PST on vaping products actually goes into programs to lower vaping rates, with a particular focus on youth, and that this process is done with transparency.”
The Official Opposition introduced three amendments to the government’s bill, all focused on transparency and accountability, which would have either created a designated education fund from vaping PST revenue, put all revenues into the existing Special Health Account, or at a minimum, require an annual report out to the legislature of total PST revenue collected and how the revenue was spent. Regrettably, the NDP said no to all three of these proposed amendments.
“Moving forward, we will be vigilant in holding the government accountable for implementing the anti-youth vaping actions quickly,” concludes Stone. “We will monitor the effectiveness of the government’s decision not to proceed with an outright ban on flavoured vaping products, and advocate for the necessary resources to be invested in education programs related to awareness, prevention and addiction support in every middle and high school across B.C.”