Health Canada Announces New Restrictions to Prevent Youth Vaping

Published: June 21, 2021

Health Canada Announces New Restrictions to Prevent Youth Vaping

As youth vaping continues to rise, the Government of Canada is taking action to address it. While youth smoking is at its lowest level in decades, vaping is putting a new generation of Canadians at risk of nicotine addiction and the other harms caused by vaping. Vaping can lead to tobacco use, which threatens the hard-earned gains of Canadians in lowering the number of people and youth who smoke. Working with other orders of governments, the medical community and other stakeholders, the Government of Canada continues to do more to protect youth from the risks of vaping.

Research shows that flavoured vaping products are highly appealing to youth, and that youth are especially susceptible to the negative effects of nicotine – including altered brain development, which can cause challenges with memory and concentration. To address this, Health Canada is proposing regulatory changes to permitted flavours in vaping products in the Canada Gazette, Part I for comment.

The proposal would restrict the flavour options in vaping products in Canada to tobacco and mint/menthol. This will help make vaping less attractive to youth, while giving alternatives to adults who smoke and wish to transition, or have already transitioned to vaping. The consultation will be open for 75 days, open from June 18 to September 2, 2021. A proposal to restrict flavours in inhaled cannabis extracts has also been published in the Canada Gazette, Part I and will be open for 75 days for input.

Health Canada is also announcing that the Nicotine Concentration in Vaping Products Regulations will be published in the next edition of the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations set a maximum nicotine concentration of 20 mg/mL in vaping products to make them less appealing to youth. The regulations also prohibit the packaging and sale of vaping products if the nicotine concentration of the products exceeds this limit. Manufacturers must adhere to this limit by July 8, 2021; retailers may not sell products that exceed this limit after July 23, 2021.

This important work builds on existing measures already taken by the Government of Canada to address the rise in youth vaping. These new measures will protect youth from the harms of vaping and cannabis, so that healthy kids become healthy adults.

“Vaping is putting a new generation of Canadians at risk of nicotine addiction and other harms from vaping,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, “We’re taking this action because we know that nicotine has particular impacts on young people’s brain development, memory and concentration. These new measures build on our efforts to stop young Canadians from vaping. The message is simple—don’t vape.”

Quick Facts

  • These proposed and new regulations build on the existing work being done by the Department, including increasing compliance and enforcement activities and enhancing vaping awareness through the Consider the Consequences public education efforts. Health Canada has invested more than $13 million in the Consider the Consequences of Vaping national public education campaign which launched in December 2018 to inform youth and their parents of the harms and risks of vaping. A recent evaluation of the advertising campaign found that 26% of teens who reported having seen the ads decided not to try vaping as a result.
  • The proposed regulatory amendments to restrict flavours in inhaled cannabis extracts builds on the actions the Government of Canada has taken to reduce the appeal of cannabis products for youth and young adults, through compliance and enforcement and increasing awareness of the risks of vaping cannabis.
  • Vaping is a less harmful source of nicotine than cigarettes for those who switch completely to vaping.
  • Between July and December 2019, Health Canada inspectors visited more than 3,000 specialty vape shops and convenience stores across the country, seizing more than 80,000 units of non-compliant vaping products. More than eighty percent of the specialty vape shops inspected were found to be promoting and selling vaping products in violation of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act.
  • The Department has published the results of the retail inspections that occurred in 2019 in two Vaping Products Enforcement Reports for July – September 2019 and October – December 2019.
  • Between July 2020 and March 2021, Health Canada Inspectors also conducted over 260 online inspections of Instagram accounts associated with Canadian vaping establishments. Approximately 50% of the Instagram accounts inspected were found to be selling and promoting vaping products in violation of the TVPA. Health Canada also plans to publish the results of its 2020-21 online inspections in the summer of 2021.
  • While the results of the 2020 Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey (CTNS) suggest that the rapid increase of youth vaping rates observed between 2017 and 2019 may be levelling off, use of vaping products remains high. These new rules are expected to lessen the appeal of these products to youth.

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