Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health is pushing for a nationwide ban on flavored vapor products, as well as a government mandate of plain packaging, in efforts to curb youth vaping.

The proposal additionally calls for a nationwide increase of the minimum legal age to purchase vapor products to 21 years old, and for manufacturers to disclose every ingredient in their products.

The Canadian Medical Association likewise called on Health Canada to impose a nationwide flavor ban. Nova Scotia is set to see a flavor ban go into effect in April, but the Council of Chief Medical Officers wants to see other provinces, or even the country as a whole, follow suit. According to Sarah Butson, a public policy analyst at the Canadian Lung Association:

“The evidence is out that we have a youth vaping problem here. We can’t afford to not take action.”

Perhaps it is parents, rather than government or non-governmental organizations, who ought rightly to take action.

According to The Globe And Mail:

“…members of the e-cigarette industry say flavours are essential to attract existing adult smokers to their products. Onerous restrictions could discourage smokers from trying e-cigarettes, which Health Canada says are a less harmful option than smoking.”

If Health Canada follows in the footsteps of U.S. states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, Canadians who now vape — including youth — could return to smoking. That would not be a step forward in the interest of public health. Rather, it would a startling leap backward.

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