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Health experts want new packaging rules for cigarettes to apply to vaping

Last Updated May 1, 2019 at 7:48 pm PDT

FILE - In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Summary

Health experts are welcoming new rules around cigarette packaging, but say vaping products needs more regulation too

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As Ottawa announces the end of bright colours and stylish fonts on cigarette cartons starting November, health experts want e-cigarettes and vaping products to get the same treatment.

New rules coming from the federal government include making all cartons the same dull-brown colour with the same font and large health warnings, all to dissuade people from smoking.

RELATED: Plain packaging rules for tobacco products to take effect in November

But the packaging rules around e-cigarettes and vaping products are more relaxed, something Vancouver Coastal Health officer Meena Dawar says needs to change.

She says the number of high schoolers vaping has jumped from nine to 15 per cent between 2014 and 2017 — and all of that happened before nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were legal in Canada.

“We’re all quite concerned that with the wider availability of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, those rates are probably quite high,” she says.

“It would be very helpful to have the same sorts of regulations apply to vaping products from e-cigarettes itself, all the way to pods and e-juice containers.”

As vaping continues to become more popular, the government should consider other ways to deter youth, Dawar argues, such as by limiting sales to only shops that adults can access — like tobacco shops — upping the price through taxes, or by restricting flavours.

Tougher rules needed on e-cigarette marketing: health officials

The way vaping products are marketed needs to change as well, Dawar argues, to keep teens from buying them.

Banning advertising of e-cigarettes entirely is one option.

“That really needs to be done because currently the products are promoted widely,” she says. “Tobacco products you don’t see being advertised in any venue other than adult-only venue, so restricting promotion and advertising is important.”

The Canadian Medical Association is calling for something similar.

President of the doctors group, Gigi Osler, says in a statement that as they welcome tougher rules on tobacco, we shouldn’t forget about e-cigarettes and vaping.

“Stricter marketing regulations are required as the use of these products – especially by teens – is on the rise,” she says. “With their long-term health impacts still relatively unknown, we should all work towards avoiding the mistakes of the past and move to address the marketing and promotion of e-cigarettes and vaping products immediately.”

She says regulating how tobacco and vaping products are advertised is an important step in further reducing smoking rates in Canada.