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It’s official: Ontario to restrict flavoured vapes in effort to curb youth consumption

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Ontario will restrict the sale of vape flavours and high nicotine e-cigarettes in a bid to address youth vaping, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced Friday.

The government also plans to expand prevention efforts and bolster services to help people quit vaping.

“As we learned more about the alarming increase in youth vaping, one thing has become abundantly clear: we need to do more,” she said. “Indeed, the early evidence is quite concerning.”

Elliott cited recent studies that show youth vaping in Canada has increased 74% in just one year, and that nearly one in five Grade 12 students report using an e-cigarette in the previous year.

Most of Ontario’s proposed new regulations are expected to come into effect May 1, and include restricting the sale of flavoured vape products to specialty vape and cannabis retail stores, which already only serve customers 19 and older. Products with menthol, mint and tobacco would be exempted.

But Elliott is also calling on the federal government to create a national tax on vaping products.

“We know that young people are more price sensitive than other consumers,” she said. “Higher prices would also further deter youth who have never smoked from trying vaper products in the first place.”

Alberta announced this week that it will be implementing its own 20% tax on vaping devices and liquids to discourage youth. But Elliott said a national tax is the best approach because it would minimize the regulatory burden on small business owners and ensure consistency across the country.

Ontario previously banned the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations on Jan. 1.