Health Canada is responding to recent data which show a marked increase in illicit teen vaping.

According to recent findings by the British Medical Journal, Canadian teenagers who say they vape has trended upward by 74 percent in the last two years. (Notably, the study does not appear, at least at first glance, to distinguish between regular use and experimentation only; nor does it appear to differentiate between underage vapers who previously smoked traditional cigarettes and those who did not.)

This comes as no surprise to vape shop owner Philippe Leger, owner of Vape 1755 in Dieppe, New Brunswick. “It’s hard. It’s a trend, and they love it,” Leger said. Though he insists that his shop maintains a hard and fast rule against selling to anyone under 19, Leger also acknowledges that, teenagers being teenagers, they do find ways to get their hands on illicit substances from traditional cigarettes to alcohol and of course now vapor products. “They find someone else to buy it for them but we won’t sell to any under age people in here.”

Now Health Canada looks poised to step in with measures of their own, according to a roadmap laid out back in April.

Health Canada’s Maryse Durette has issued a statement on behalf of the agency which describes future steps aimed at curbing teen vaping, chief among them being new restrictions on advertising. The statement reads in part:

“Health Canada also consulted on other measures to address the recent trend of youth vaping, including examining the role of flavours, nicotine concentration and product design in making vaping products appealing to youth and non-smokers.”

Additionally, mid-June saw vape shops across Canada receive letters from Health Canada reminding them of the serious penalties that come with being caught selling vapor products to minors. A first offense carries a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offenses can cost violators up to $50,000. Shop owners like Leger agree that such steep penalties are a powerful incentive for business owners to stay in compliance: “If I pay $50,000, I might as well close the store down.” he said.

Also on Health Canada’s roadmap: health warning messages on vapor product packaging. This measure appears for the moment to be a distant one, as there is currently no word on when or even concretely if the warnings will be mandated.



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