Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost

Bill raises minimum age to purchase tobacco, vaping products

The Yukon governmen plans to replace the Smoke-Free Places Act with modern legislation addressing vaping and raising the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco and vapour products.

By Gabrielle Plonka on October 8, 2019

The Yukon government plans to replace the Smoke-Free Places Act with modern legislation addressing vaping and raising the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco and vapour products.

Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost tabled the enabling legislation Monday.

“I am proud of the work our government is doing to protect the health of young Yukoners,” Frost said in a release.

“(The legislation is) part of our ongoing efforts to discourage the use of these addictive and harmful products.”

Bill No. 3, the Tobacco and Vaping Products Control and Regulation Act, proposes raising the minimum legal age for access to tobacco and vapour products to 19 years old. The age in the Yukon is currently 18.

The legislation also addresses how vapour products must be sold, used and promoted.

When the Smoke-Free Places Act came into effect in 2008, e-cigarettes and vaping did not have today’s prevalence, making this all-new legislation for the Yukon.

The legislation prohibits smoking and vaping in public places. Those include group living facilities and restaurants, schools, patios, public vehicles and vehicles in which there is a young person.

Yukoners would also be prohibited from smoking or vaping within five metres of a doorway, window or air intake of an enclosed place where smoking or vaping are prohibited.

These prohibitions have been updated from the Smoke-Free Places Act to include vaping and vapour products.

The legislation also prohibits the sale of flavoured tobacco and flavoured vaping products. Edible confections designed to resemble a tobacco product, like candy cigars, are prohibited.

Tobacco and vaping products are also prohibited from sale in pharmacies. As well, products must be hidden from display at tobacco retailers.

Business managers are prohibited from selling tobacco and vaping products to youth and similarly cannot promote the sale of tobacco products in their stores.

The bill was drafted after a round of public consultation asking Yukoners how legislation should be adjusted to account for vaping. The survey was completed by 477 participants last spring.

The public survey resulted in 86 per cent of respondents agreeing the government should prioritize limiting youths’ access to vaping products.

Fifty per cent of respondents agreed that access to vapour products should be supported for adults trying to quit smoking.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents agreed with changing the minimum age for vapour product purchase to 19 years old. Twenty-four per cent supported raising the age to 21.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents agreed that either some or all flavoured vapour products should be banned.

In an interview with the Star last Thursday, Premier Sandy Silver said the legislation will provide a much-needed update to the territory’s current legislation.

“It’s a focus on protecting public health, especially when it comes to youth,” Silver said.

The Yukon is following suit with provincial governments on vaping legislation. Both the Alberta and Nova Scotia governments announced reviews of their smoking and tobacco laws last Wednesday.

At the end of September, the B.C. government said it plans to reduce the number of vendors licensed to sell e-cigarettes.

The country-wide movement toward legislation on vaping comes after an outbreak of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes topped 1,000 cases in the United States this year.

In a media release, the Yukon government addressed vaping as causing nicotine addiction, negatively impacting brain development in youth. The release concedes that “the long-term consequences of vaping are unknown.”

Comments (9)

Up 4 Down 1

Even A Blind Dog Could See This Coming on Oct 14, 2019 at 9:00 pm

At - Teenagers Are - We live in a stratified, adversarial society in which manipulation and dishonesty are ultimately rewarded. In such a society it is profitable to hold on the one hand that we value our young people, they are the future, create laws and regulations for their protection, knowingly violate them or otherwise let them slide while directly targeting them for consumption of the toxic substances we say we are protecting them from.

We are taught and stupidly accept that society exists for the benefit of all when really we are just hosts for the parasitic interests of politicians and business people who could care less as long as there are more voters and customers who accept the same stupidity.

We go through the pretense. That is all we do perhaps because as unscrupulous as we are as a society we do not want someone’s death on our conscience. In this manner, while “we” drink back some cold ones, take a hit from the vape, or partake in some blunt I can moralize about my position on youth substance use... As I help plan their grade 12 stag or hen party... As I drive them to their friends party - Be good now! Be safe now!

How stupid do we have to be? And if you are not stupid why do you tolerate such hypocrisy? Cause no one wants to be the killjoy. They won’t like me if I say no.

Up 3 Down 2

Teenagers are the vape companies favorite customers on Oct 13, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Vaping is stupid and looks stupid. Teens are the main ones doing it. Why? Because they can get about 50 cigarettes worth of nicotine in a small hit with their vape. They vape marijuana too. So when you work with youth, who knows what they are ingesting, until you see their behaviour (high) but can't prove it because of the lack of smell, red eyes, etc. One teen I know vaped so much nicotine (huge amounts in a few puffs) and so much caffeine from Red Bull that he actually poisoned his body and wound up in emergency with a stutter and shakes for days, which he was told could be irreversible. He was a heavy vape user. Teens regulating their usage?--no.
You think it's not harmful to vape, Liam? Vape should be by prescription only, for those wanting to quit smoking. And...jack the price of vapes way up. They're already expensive but let's go up to $300 for a vape instead of $150, same thing with the juice. Finally, I'd have a detection system in every bathroom in every public building and if you are caught vaping in there, a $1000 fine, automatically, with vape gone and charges laid for polluting the air. The vape companies are having a ball with no sane regulations to govern their corrupt, money- over -lives approach with their products. But then why have tobacco, alcohol and newly legalized marijuana been regulated so strongly when vapes do far worst and have no tangible regulation at all. Legal ages don't matter--but charging the adults/parents who buy these vapes for their children and to 'deal vapes to make money' would.

Up 17 Down 9

Donovan on Oct 10, 2019 at 7:16 am

So "youths" can fight and die for our country at 18, but are not able to properly consume tobacco and vape products according to Ms. Frost. Apparently Mr. Silver is unwilling to do the right thing and replace this MOST controversial minister in recent memory

Up 9 Down 3

Anonymous on Oct 9, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Some people are very wrong about the prevalence and damage to our young people using vamping products. I know many 12,11 and much younger (9 and 10 year olds) who see 11 and 12 year olds making videos about vaping. Yes, they are using the products publicly. The young people think it is "cool" that they are able to make huge clouds of smoke and blow smoke rings. They also love the new flavours. Go by the high school and see how many are using. It is very scary. Look at the news articles. Yes, vaping is so much better for those trying to quit smoking, but it is a different thing for very young people who overdo vaping to be accepted and look cool.

Up 9 Down 6

Karl on Oct 9, 2019 at 7:08 pm

They missed the opportunity to just make it illegal in the first place. It wasn't even a thing 5 years ago so it's not like there's this big legacy body of people who spent their lives vaping.

Up 13 Down 4

Come on Liam on Oct 9, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Liam, if you think that teens that smoke already are the ones trying vaping you must be on the THC vape a bit too often. The teens are all over this. Most think smoking is bad but do not have the same fears of vaping products. Do yourself a favour and ask any teen you know about this. They will set you straight.

Up 29 Down 3

Guncache on Oct 8, 2019 at 7:28 pm

Now if the honorable minister would make the Shingles vaccine available to seniors she would be doing her job.

Up 11 Down 16

Liam on Oct 8, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Please do some more research before proposing a bill like this, and tying nicotine e-cigarettes to the lung illnesses. The CDC in the United States has confirmed the investigation of the lung illnesses and deaths is primarily focused on illegal THC vaping cartridges– and advises people who are using e-cigarettes as a method to quit smoking cigarettes not to go back to smoking cigarettes. Also, a reexamination of the evidence found supporting the "youth vaping" scare has been found not to be nearly as bad as it seems, as teenagers who already smoked are the ones trying vaping. The numbers were skewed. Thank you.

Up 15 Down 9

Max Mack on Oct 8, 2019 at 4:45 pm

More knee-jerk, feel-good legislation from the Liberals that "criminalizes" behaviour that has questionably harmful effects. The anti-smoking lobby is out in full force, attempting to demonize vaping in a desperate attempt to quash anything that looks like smoking - especially with regards to "youth".

"Youth" access to vaping products is already restricted. Increasing the age at which "youth" can buy vaping products from 18 to 19 will hardly make any difference whatsoever in terms of access. "Youth" vape for a variety of reasons, but one is that vaping is seen by youth and adults as safer than cigarette smoking.

Applying the same rules as cigarette smoking vis-a-vis use of vaping products in public spaces is ludicrous.

While some regulation regarding manufacturing is probably needed (federal jurisdiction), this legislation seeks to criminalize behaviour that has little to no public harm. Abhorrent over-response to a non-issue. "Youth" are apparently mature enough to choose risky surgeries and hormonal treatments in pursuit of gender change, but are not mature enough to choose to vape. Go figure.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.