Vaping is something we see everywhere. While adults are legally allowed to purchase the products, the concern lies in vaping's appeal to youth and popularity among teens. In order to deter youth from purchasing the product, it has been announced by officials that vaping products in B.C. could be taxed 20%. If passed, the tax will come into effect as early as the new year and will be the first of its kind in Canada.
On Thursday morning, Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the public about B.C.’s new vaping regulations. He first stated that nicotine is a public health hazard under the Public Health Act.
In his speech, Dix announced a 10-step plan to address the issue of youth vaping. One of those actions is to implement a 20% tax on nicotine products sold throughout the entire province.
According to the announcement, the regulations, including the tax, will come into effect on January 1, 2020. After Dix's announcement, Minister of Finance Carol James took the platform to discuss the action plan.
According to James, B.C. is facing an urgent health crisis in regards to vaping.
“We are hearing about case after case in North America of people becoming very sick after vaping addiction. Here in British Columbia we have had confirmed illnesses related to vaping,” said James.
Along with the new regulations, the legislation will be introduced this month for the taxing of vaping products. The current tax on vaping products in B.C. is 7%.
James stated that the massive tax jump symbolizes the urgency of this problem. “When you make a product more expensive and harder to access, use will decline,” said James.
Should this legislation be passed, B.C. would be the first province in Canada to apply a specific tax to vaping products. The new rules will also restrict nicotine content in vaping devices, Victoria News reports.
In addition to the proposed tax, James states that through the legislation, B.C. will increase the tobacco tax rate on cigarettes and loose tobacco by two cents.
“While increasing the taxes on vaping is going to curve the harmful behaviour, we also don’t want young people turning to tobacco products and to other harmful products,” said James.
The plan also includes restricting the amount of nicotine in vape pods and liquids to 20 mg to 20 ml. Flavour availability will also be restricted to certain adult-only stores. This means that in all other stores where vaping products are sold, tobacco will be the only flavour available.
New labelling requirements with plain packaging and health warnings will also be required on all products moving forward.
Public advertising will be banned from busier public areas, including bus stops, billboards and retail store windows.