British Columbia Legislature (File Photo)

The BC Ministry of Health has announced the introduction of new restrictions on vapour products in an effort to curb youth vaping rates.

On Thursday morning, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the new regulations with restrict the amount of nicotine in vapour pods and liquid to 20mg/ml and will require plain packaging for vapour products that include health warnings.

See alsoFirst case of probable vaping-related illness found in B.C.

Vapour flavours, other than tobacco flavours, will only be allowed in age-restricted shops, and advertisement of these products will not be permitted in areas frequented by youth, like bus shelters or community parks.

“Some vaping manufacturers are using flavours and advertising to entice and normalize vaping for youth – introducing a new generation to very high levels of a very addictive drug,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“As a result, youth vaping rates are rising, putting them at risk for addiction and serious illness. That’s why we are bringing in the most comprehensive plan in the country, and supporting young people to end this dangerous trend.”

These new rules are expected to come into force in spring 2020, alongside an anti vaping campaign created by young people on social media.

Taxes and new resources

Dix also calls on the federal government to enact national regulations to 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,” he said.

In addition to the regulations, the province also intends to become the first in Canada to introduce a vape-specific tax rate by increasing the PST on vaping products from 7% to 20%.

This new rate will be applied starting January 1st, 2020 and will include all vaping devices, the substance or juice that is used with the vaping device and any vaping part or accessory.

The legislation also includes increasing the tobacco tax rate by two cents, raising costs to 29.5 cents per cigarette and 39.5 cents per gram of loose tobacco.

In partnership with the BC Lung Association, the provincial government is building a toolkit resource for educators, parents, and youth to use as while discussing the impacts of vaping.

Last week, Health Canada stated that there may now be three possible vaping-related illnesses in British Columbia – a number that is likely to rise as more illnesses are reported and investigated.