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B.C. government moves to tax and restrict vaping products to protect youth

The British Columbia government introduced a 10-point plan last week to protect youth from the health risks of vaping that includes cutting nicotine content in vapour pods, restricting flavours aimed at young people, increasing taxes on products and supporting youth-led anti-vaping campaigns.

Unknown-1Health Minister Adrian Dix said youth vaping rates are increasing, putting young people at risk of serious illness, prompting the government to introduce the most comprehensive vaping plan in Canada.

“In a short number of years, vaping has shifted from being a smoking cessation tool for adults to an addictions trap for our youth,” he said during a news conference.

Dix cited data from a British Medical Journal report that youth vaping rates have increased 74% between 2017 and 2018.

Vaping-associated illness cases have been reported across Canada, with three suspected cases in B.C., said Dix.

The government will introduce new regulations that take effect in the spring of 2020 that restrict the amount of nicotine in vapour pods, require health warnings and prevent advertising of vapour products in areas where youth spend time, including bus shelters and community parks.

Vaping juice comes in a variety of flavours like vanilla, cotton candy or berry, and Dix said the sale of such flavours would only be permitted in age-restricted outlets where vapour products are sold.

“We wanted to target the issue of flavours and limit it dramatically,” he said. “We will be restricting access to certain flavours and only allowing other flavours, other than tobacco flavours, in adult-only stores. That’s a significant step.”

Dix said he was optimistic the federal government will soon join B.C. in adopting nationwide vaping measures.

A vaping industry spokesman said there are concerns the government’s approach to restricting flavours could harm efforts by adults to quit smoking. Daniel David, Vaping Industry Trade Association president, said in a statement that B.C.’s regulations limiting nicotine content for people who vape could send them to underground sources.

“VITA supports the provincial government’s role in using regulatory tools to address youth vaping but creating a patchwork of legislation across the provinces will only feed the black market and push adult vapers back to cigarettes,” said David.

Finance Minister Carole James said the government will introduce legislation this month that boosts the provincial sales tax on vapingproducts from 7% to 20%.

“Yes, it is a big tax jump and one that really signifies the urgency of this problem. We all know that youth are particularly price sensitive, and so when you make a product more expensive and harder to access, youth will decline,” James said.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the plan includes youth-led campaigns in schools to help young people steer away from vaping.

“It will unleash the power of young people talking to young people, youth to youth, peer to peer,” he said. “We will be working with students to de-normalize vaping.”

The B.C. School Trustees Association has asked the government for help, saying many districts in B.C. are spending too much time monitoring and addressing the problem of vaping in schools.

Nirmala Raniga, the founder of the Chopra Addiction and Wellness Centre in Squamish, B.C., said launching a youth-led anti-vaping initiative in B.C. schools gives young people a positive outlet to turn to as pressures to smoke, vape and try drugs arise.

“Young people need to belong,” said Raniga, who has been treating people with addictions for more than 30 years. “The most positive I see is the youth who are struggling with this coming out and sharing their story with their peers.”

Health Canada has issued a warning to people who vape to monitor themselves for symptoms of vaping-related pulmonary illness following hundreds of such cases in the United States and a few in Canada.

Dr. Meena Dawar, Vancouver Coastal medical health officer, said the government campaign is a positive step towards fighting increases in vaping health and addictions issues for youth. She said nicotine content in vaping products has increased and those products contribute to a “chemical cocktail.”

“Recent data indicate that one in five youth, grades 7 to 12, use vaping products or have used vaping products in the previous 30 days,” she said.


Ontario cuts funding to youth smoking cessation program, will close in June

Ontario has cut funding to an agency that helps young people across the province quit smoking.

The administrator of the Leave the Pack Behind program says she was informed by the Ministry of Health this month that their annual $1-million funding would not be renewed.

The agency, which operates independently but is housed out of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., said 27 people will lose their jobs due to the funding cut.

The program has been in operation for 19 years and initially helped people aged 19 to 25 on six university campuses quit smoking, but has since expanded to 44 post-secondary institutions and 35 public health units

Leave the Pack Behind says it has helped 40,600 students quit smoking since 2000 by providing personalized supports, referrals to health professionals and nicotine replacement treatments.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed the funding cut but said the government continues to support other smoking cessation initiatives at the University of Ottawa and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Hayley Chazan said the government is steamlining the province’s health-care system and removing duplication.

“In doing so, we can protect and promote vital programs and ensure we spend taxpayer dollars responsibly,” she said in a statement.

Kelli-an Lawrance, a health sciences associate professor at Brock University who helped launch the program and continues to oversee it, said the cut is “devastating.”

“I have letters from young adults that say, ‘you saved my life,”’ she said. “To get the news that the funding from the program has been cut is … a real shock.”

Michael Perley, director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, said ending the program means 19 years of experience, expertise, and relationship-building across the province is lost.

“It doesn’t make any sense to do this,” he said. “It’s just slightly over a million dollars and that is a very small amount of money for the reach and effectiveness of the program and potential cost-savings down the road.”


5 culinary trends on the rise with young consumers

Young Consumers Eating_Lg_040119Key food trends today will shape the menus on university and college campus dining operations in the coming years as younger consumers approach food with a certain criteria. These trends will also influence what young people expect from their local convenience store.

According to Y-Pulse, five food trends — ranging from ethical dining to multicultural menus — are popular among young consumers. The findings come from examining the dining expectations, attitudes, and tendencies of more than 1,000 consumers between 18 and 34 years through multiple comprehensive consumer studies.

“We found young consumers are using a sophisticated set of criteria involving health, nutrition, ethical concerns, and culinary adventure when making dining out decisions,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. “These trends are most likely to have a great impact on college campus dining in the coming years, if not months.”

The five culinary trends that will have a big impact on college foodservice operations according to Y-Pulse are:

1. REPLENISHING WITH PURPOSE

Young consumers are very interested in the functional aspect of foods that not only satisfy their hunger but also pack a nutritional punch. According to Y-Pulse, 73% of overall consumers surveyed said they enjoyed eating superfoods that serve specific functional purposes.

Superfoods, such as dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, can easily be integrated into food and beverage concepts. These functional ingredients are also great flavor and textural add-ins to shelf-stable snacks in grab-and-go menus.

Young consumers are also extremely responsive to organic foods: 67% said that eating organic makes them feel better and 55% said that they are willing to pay more for organic menu items.

2. BEYOND DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

Young consumers are no longer interested in highly regimented diets. Instead, the research found, they would like to limit certain ingredients in dishes rather than cut them out completely.

By taking a more holistic framework to health, young consumers are receptive to alternative food options. For example, younger consumers admire meat-free lifestyles but are not interested in adopting vegetarian or vegan lifestyles. Young consumers said they admire vegetarian (60%) and vegan (56%) lifestyles but they also overwhelmingly love meat (82%).

Only 42% of overall consumers said they enjoy eating meat substitutes.

It’s likely that college campus dining will need to use customization formats to introduce menu items that appeal to those with dietary restrictions, as well as the broader consumer that believes in quality ingredients but not restrictive diets, Y-Pulse said.

3. ETHICAL CONCERNS

Today’s young consumers between ages 18 and 34 are more aware about ethical issues surrounding food sourcing and production than older generations. More than two-thirds of younger consumers surveyed said there were not enough ethically produced snacks available and 67% said would pay more for ethically produced snacks.

In addition, 70% of young consumers said they care about ordering protein that is sustainably raised or caught.

With 63% of consumers stating that they consider themselves an advocate for responsibly produced foods, menu ingredient communication is the perfect starting point for campus foodservice operations to open a dialogue about their ethical practices and efforts, according to Y-Pulse.

4. HEALTHFUL WITHOUT COMPROMISE

Young consumers want to eat healthy but do not believe in compromising on taste. Specifically, 86% said they expect healthy food to taste delicious too. They also want healthy eating to be easy, convenient and work around their on-the-go lifestyle. Eighty-one percent said they shouldn’t have to try too hard to eat healthy and three-quarters of them said that they are likely to buy raw fruits and vegetables to eat on-the-go.

With 66% of consumers saying they don’t mind paying extra for a snack if it’s a healthy option, the momentum for healthy but delicious grab-and-go foods seems unstoppable, the research firm noted.

5. THE QUEST FOR WORLD FLAVORS

The culinary trend of seeking international flavors is linked to young consumers’ interest in discovering vibrant spices and bold flavors. Besides wanting to sample authentic foods that link them to travel, young consumers are also interested in discovering new ways to eat healthy and sustainable foods.

Another great pull towards seeking new world flavors is to explore regional cuisine linked to their own ancestry or new immigrant populations. Authenticity is crucial with 79% of consumers agreeing that a restaurant’s ethnic food should be authentic.

From Latin American ingredients to Middle Eastern spices, colleges and universities have a unique opportunity in teaching students about world dynamics by means of food exploration, Y-Pulse added. In turn, convenience store operators can learn from these trends in an effort to help provide fuel and sustenance for growing minds and bodies.

Y-Pulse is a research and consulting practice that specializes in helping companies in the food business better understand tomorrow’s tastemakers today. Founded in 2004, Y-Pulse is a division of Olson Communications Inc. headquartered in Chicago. 


Health advocates urge Quebec to appeal vaping ruling amid spike in youth vaping

Anti-smoking groups are urging the Quebec government to appeal a court ruling that invalidated certain sections of the province’s tobacco legislation dealing with vaping, as health officials across the country grapple with an apparent spike in youth adopting the habit.

The ruling handed down by Quebec Superior Court on Friday confirmed the province’s right to legislate on vaping, but struck down provisions banning demonstrations of vaping products inside shops or specialized clinics.

It also struck parts of the law prohibiting the advertising of vaping products to smokers seeking to kick their habit.

Flory Doucas of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control said the judgment comes as Canada is dealing with a growing number of youth using vaping products since the federal government passed a law formally legalizing and regulating vaping, or e-cigarettes, in May 2018.

And, she notes, experience with the tobacco industry suggests advertising that targets smokers could also ensnare others.

“It is very worrisome to think that Quebec, one of the only jurisdictions in Canada that had a comprehensive, well-balanced framework for vaping products would now see its framework weakened when in fact other governments _ and the federal government _ is calling on provincial governments to help it tighten and restrict the marketing of these products to address the youth epidemic,” Doucas said in an interview Saturday.

The challenge to Quebec’s Tobacco Control Act, adopted in 2015, was brought by the Canadian Vaping Association and l’Association quebecoise des vapoteries, who argued the law infringed on its members’ freedom of expression.

Justice Daniel Dumais suspended his ruling for six months to allow lawmakers to rewrite the problematic sections of the province’s tobacco law to make them valid.

The Quebec government has not commented on the ruling.

Doucas said the province should appeal, noting the Quebec measures were anchored on prevention and precaution, and make even more sense than they did in 2015.

Although vaping products are less harmful than tobacco products, Doucas said caution is necessary, as is protecting youth against a highly addictive habit whose long-term effects are not known.

Health advocates suggest a rise in vaping among Canadian youth has coincided with heavy marketing and promotion since the federal government passed the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act in 2018.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said in April it was alarmed by the trend and that a new generation of youth addicted to nicotine could lead to a resurgence in smoking and other health problems.

Also last month, federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor launched consultations on potential new regulatory measures aimed at reducing the uptick of youth vaping. This consultation, which runs until May 25, is considering measures that include restricting online sales and certain flavours, and restricting the concentration or delivery of nicotine in vaping products.

Doucas said what’s happening elsewhere makes maintaining the Quebec measures even more important.

“Everything is pointing to things getting far more restricted based on this huge surge in youth vaping,” she said.

The Canadian Cancer Society said it is also concerned about youth vaping and called for an appeal.

“The result of this ruling is you could have the potential of having e-cigarette advertising anywhere, at any time,” said Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the society. “That simply would be wrong in terms of protecting youth.”