Ontario to ban promotion of vaping products in gas stations, convenience stores

TORONTO — Ontario‘s health minister says the province will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations in a bid to prevent youth from being exposed to the addictive habit.

Christine Elliott said Friday the ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and is in response to new research which shows vaping is on the rise among young people in the province.

“Vaping is not without risk, and the potential long-term effects of vaping remain uncertain,” Elliott said in a statement. “As we continue to engage with experts and families to identify further action we can take to protect our youth, this first step will help begin to curb the alarming increase in young people vaping.”

Ontario was set to ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores under the previous Liberal government but the Progressive Conservative government paused regulations that were to come into effect on July 1, 2018 shortly after it took office.

The province will still allow vaping to be promoted in specialty vaping and cannabis shops which are open to people aged 19 and older.

The government will make the change by amending a provincial regulation to bring it in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco promotion.

Ontario now joins seven other Canadian provinces which have introduced similar restrictions on vaping promotion.

A year ago, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco — which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation — asked the Ford government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.

The groups said at the time that it would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers, and on Friday the group’s director applauded the move by the government.

“It’s pretty clear the government has looked at the evidence that has been published on youth vaping on how it’s growing in Ontario since they legalized promotion in retail settings,” Michael Perley said. “The evidence says they need to do more to stop messaging to young people … that these products are normal and just like candy and pop that kids go into convenience stores to look for.”

Health authorities in Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping.

Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2019.

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press