KAMLOOPS (June 20, 2019) – Despite growing warnings about the dramatic increase in youth taking up vaping, John Horgan and the NDP would rather wait for federal direction than act now to curb this harmful practice.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal today shows a dramatic spike in vaping among Canadian teens, indicating that the practice by those aged 16 to 19 is up 74 per cent in the past year. The study also found that cigarette smoking among 16- to 19-year olds in the same time period increased by 45 per cent, suggesting that despite a previous continuing decline in youth smoking over the past decade, it may now be increasing. All of this has prompted the Canadian Cancer Society to issue a statement calling for immediate government action— but it appears our province will be slow to react.
“Health Minister Adrian Dix has put out a statement of his own, basically saying B.C. will wait for more direction from the federal government. That’s not good enough,” says Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “We can’t sit idle as more and more youth succumb to this dangerous habit. Their health and safety should be paramount.”
Stone introduced a private member’s bill during the spring legislative session that would amend the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act in an effort to better keep these addictive products out of the hands of youth. These amendments include banning the sale of flavoured vapour products, limiting the supply and accessibility of e-cigarette products through stricter retail controls and enacting tougher penalties for non-compliance. He also called for appropriate resources in schools to increase awareness, prevention and support to students.
“Unfortunately, the government didn’t call the bill for debate— the NDP didn’t have the foresight to realize this youth health and safety issue is escalating at an alarming rate,” says Stone. “As a parent myself, the statistics are frightening and the time for action is now— not months or years from now, when the Minister finally hears back from Ottawa.”