Ontario 2024 budget adds funds to help combat youth vaping

Ontario schools will get money to add vaping detectors in school bathrooms.
Tom Venetis head shot
 random pretty woman standing and about to hover on a blue background in the studio. the concept of vaping and modern smoking.
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To combat youth vaping in the province of Ontario, the government in its 2024 provincial budget allocated funds to help provincial schools add vaping detectors to their school bathrooms.

In a section devoted to Enhancing School Safety, “The Ontario is investing $30 million over three years to help equip schools with security cameras, lighting and other security upgrades, including vape detectors.”

Upon the announcement of the funding, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that he is "deeply concerned" about students vaping in school and hopes that installing vape detectors—which are similar to smoke detectors but detect vapour—in spaces such as washrooms can help keep them healthy and safe.

"We're putting the investments in place to keep them safe, keep them safe from cannabis, from illicit drugs and from unacceptably high rates of vaping taking place in schools," he said in an interview,” he continued. “We cannot normalize this within our society. It should be a disturbing image to any one of us. I know parents are concerned about it. I hear from educators, too. That's why the government is acting today with the commitment to go even further in the days ahead."

In a report put out by Public Health Ontario in December 2023, in 2021, 19% of students in grades 7 to 12 in Ontario reported using a vaping device (including a few puffs), and 9% reported using a tobacco cigarette in the past year. Secondary school students in grades 9 to 12 reported a past–year smoking prevalence of 11%.

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"Heart & Stroke is encouraged to see the Government of Ontario has included some broad strokes to address tobacco and vape use in our province in today's budget," said Dr. Lesley James, director of Ontario health policy and systems at Heart & Stroke. "We welcome the new measures to address contraband tobacco and look forward to working with the government on upstream measures to tackle tobacco and vaping rates as nicotine products continue to undermine public health progress."

"Vaping continues to be a crisis among Ontario youth, and we appreciate the investment in school infrastructure," added James. "The implementation of vape detectors supplemented with better cessation supports could aid young people in quitting these harmful and addictive products."

With files from The Canadian Press and Heart and Stroke.

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