John Horgan and NDP inaction on youth vaping epidemic defies reason

KAMLOOPS (September 5, 2019) – As another school year starts, BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone is renewing his plea for the NDP government to take action in the fight against rising vape use among youth in B.C.

“I am profoundly disappointed that John Horgan’s NDP is not taking real action to help fight against the growing youth vaping epidemic. How many more kids will become addicted to nicotine before his government gets to work on this?” said the Kamloops-South Thompson MLA. “The data is clear: vape use among youth is getting worse year over year and sees no sign of easing. Government needs to step in, enforce the law, and support educational and addictions programs to curb use.”

Earlier this summer, an article published in the British Medical Journal showed a dramatic spike in vaping among Canadian teens. The findings indicated that the practice by those aged 16 to 19 is up by 74 per cent in the past year alone.

“The NDP’s idea of action is asking the federal government to step in while deep into an election cycle. That’s like shouting into the wind,” added Stone. “We need action now to protect youth from the dangers of nicotine, not empty words.”

Numerous jurisdictions in North America have begun implementing restrictions on vaping, including advertising rules, purchase limits, and outright bans of flavoured products. Just this week, Michigan became the first U.S. state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes as part of its efforts to curb youth vaping by preventing companies from using flavours specifically intended to hook children on nicotine.

“The rules around candy flavouring and kid-friendly marketing need to change,” noted Stone. “Big tobacco is making money off the deteriorating health of the estimated one-third of B.C. teens between grades 10 and 12 who are vaping. Restrictions need to be enforced so more youth aren’t exposed, enticed, and made addicted.”

This spring, Stone introduced a private member’s bill into the legislature aiming to curb youth vape use. The amendments included banning the sale of flavoured vapour products; limiting the supply and accessibility of e-cigarette products through stricter retail controls; keeping the sale of products to adult-only tobacco stores, vape stores and approved pharmacies; and enacting tougher penalties for non-compliance.

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