B.C. government to introduce wide-ranging vaping restrictions in spring 2020

And a new and much higher sales tax will come into effect New Year's Day

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      New B.C. vaping regulations will restrict access to and increase taxes on related products in order to protect youth from hazards increasingly related to vaping.

      The announcement today (November 14) from the B.C. ministries of Health, Finance, and Education during a news conference set the effective date for the new rules as the spring of 2020.

      The provincial sales tax (PST) on vaping products—including vaping devices (electronic cigarettes), vaping "juice", and all accessories—will increase from seven percent to 20 percent, starting January 1, 2020.

      Other changes announced by Health Minister Adrian Dix, Education Minister Rob Fleming, Finance Minister Carole James, and Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions, include: setting the nicotine level for vaping liquid at 20 milligrams per millilitre; requiring vaping packaging to carry a health warning and to be of a "plain" nature; restricting advertising in places where youth "spend time" (bus shelters and community parks were given as examples in an accompanying news release); and allowing the sale of vapour flavours (other than tobacco) only in age-restricted venues.

      In the release, Dix called on Ottawa to further regulate wholesalers of vaping products: “I encourage the federal government to bring in national regulations that address vapour product wholesalers. Until they do, there will be a black market of non-compliant vapour products from other jurisdictions that can make their way into our province, our schools and the lungs of our young people.”

      The provincial government also announced a youth-led social-media initiative to discourage vaping.

      Besides concerns about exposure to nicotine, an extrememly addictive substance, vaping critics also worry about the potential for the practice to promote future tobacco use.

      As well, recent reports have linked vaping to dozens of deaths and instances of severe pulmonary illnesses in the U.S. and Canada.