British Columbia’s Minister of Health Adrian Dix has told CTV Morning Live that the marketing of vaping products is partly to blame for the year over year increase in underage experimentation with vaping seen from 2017 to 2018.
“Vaping is marketed, often, as harm reduction. So if you’ve been smoking for 20 years and you use vaping to mitigate that, that might be a good thing. [But] Less harmful doesn’t mean not harmful.”
Dix blames the sleek devices and delicious flavours of vaping products for their appeal to underage experimenters who might otherwise have turned to more harmful traditional combustible cigarettes instead. He also blames the less than restrictive rules on marketing of the products.
“You can go to a SkyTrain station and see vaping ads, you certainly can’t do that with cigarette ads, so we have to review all those questions.”
Dix does, however, acknowledge that regulation isn’t necessarily a viable answer for tackling the problem.
“We have to get youth involved, because vaping is not allowed under 19 in British Columbia. Not allowed, and yet it’s happening. So it’s not just an issue of changing the law, the law already says it can’t happen. We have to engage young people.”
Dix’s strategy, instead, is social engagement with youth in an effort to make vaping as socially discouraged as smoking has already become. This clear-headed approach is laudable for a focus that will discourage new nicotine users from taking up the habit while preserving the availability of products which will help adults leave it behind.