Earlier this year, Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu, had announced a ban on adverts for vaping products in places where they can be seen by minors, such as on billboards and in convenience shops. “The latest statistics — which show that vaping has doubled among high school students — are alarming,” said the Health Minister at the time. “The new measures announced today will help, but there is more to do.”
Any ads must from now on must convey health warnings about the health risks associated with vaping, even if being displayed in spaces not accessible to teens.
Subsequently last month, a brief by Health Canada announced that the display of vaping products at points-of-sale accessible to youth as well as in any public spaces or platforms where they can be seen or heard by this age group, will be prohibited. Additionally, any displayed ads must from now on must convey health warnings about the health risks associated with the products, even if being displayed in spaces not accessible to teens.
The ban is only applicable in provinces/territories that do not already have such restrictions in place, and Health Canada said that it is also considering additional regulatory measures that would further restrict nicotine content and flavours in vaping products. However, the P.E.I. Lung Association is concerned that these measures are not enough, and that influencers on social will keep on driving teens to try vaping.
The issue of social media
Julia Hartley, co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Lung Association, said that the new restrictions will certainly have a positive impact. “I think it will control some of the Facebook or TikTok type advertising that is happening that many parents are unaware of right now,” she said
However, she added, they will likely not prevent social media influencers from posting videos of vaping. “[Influencers] have a huge influence on youth. Now they’re almost considered celebrities,” said Hartley. “It’s a lot harder for the regulations to catch that.”
Besides drawing attention to social media influencers, the P.E.I. Lung Association is continuing to advocate for a ban on flavoured vaping products. “Vaping has quickly become an epidemic with Island youth,” said Hartley. “We’ve been a leader in tobacco control and I really hope we can continue in being leaders and following suit with some of the regulations.”
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