Vancouver councillors calling for tougher vaping regulations

Nov 4 2019, 10:43 am

A pair of Vancouver city councillors are calling for a stronger policy towards the sale and advertisement of vapes and vaping-related products.

Councillors Rebecca Bligh and Lisa Dominato submitted a motion that will be discussed during Tuesday evening’s city council meeting. The joint motion discusses the increase of Vancouver-based retailers that sell vaping-related products, as well as the associated health concerns, specifically in minors and youth.

Another issue that the councillors discuss is the lack of restrictions on retailers.

“The City of Vancouver does not currently impose any specific restrictions on the sale of vape equipment and supplies,” reads the motion. “For example, there is no minimum distance requirement between retailers of vaping equipment and supplies as is the case for liquor stores and cannabis retailers, nor does the City have a license category specific to retailers who sell vape products.”

Bligh and Dominato’s motion also cites a number of concerns that have been introduced by Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

Last October, Dr. Henry announced the first probable case of a vaping-related illness within British Columbia, with a number of other ongoing investigations. She also stated that vaping is “turning back the clock on decades of effective anti-smoking efforts and creating a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine.”

According to the motion, VCH has also reported signs of nicotine addiction in young people who vape, such as the inability to concentrate in school, irritableness, and the inability to recognize that they’re experiencing withdrawal.

“For the first time in 35 years, we see an increase in the number of youth smoking,” says Bligh, in an email. “We have a responsibility to protect the younger generation as best we can by limiting the advertising in and around public transit, banning flavoured vapes such as cotton candy and others that entice young people, and limiting the broad accessibility and availability of vapes across the city.”

If passed, the motion would have city staff research feasible actions towards creating a stronger policy towards the sale of vape-related products. Potential actions include placing spacing-restrictions on the locations of retailers, banning advertisements on city-owned property, and changing Vancouver’s sponsorship policy towards vape-related products.

City Council would also ask the Mayor to address both provincial and federal government and express support of a ban on flavoured vaping products.