Tackling the Vaping Epidemic
Sep 19, 2019
With the first known case of vaping-related illness reported in Canada yesterday, we are pleased with the Health Minister’s announcement that will require public hospitals in Ontario to provide the Chief Medical Officer of Health with statistical, non-identifying information related to incidences of vaping-related severe pulmonary disease.
While this is a good first step, much more must be done to properly tackle this dangerous trend. We know that more substantial research on the effects of vaping on lung health is desperately needed, however the available research determines that vaping has been linked to severe respiratory illness. Until more comprehensive research is conducted, restrictions must be put in place to protect Canadians, especially youth, from the dangers of using these products.
It is with great urgency that the Ontario Lung Association is calling for stricter restrictions around the sale and advertising of vaping related products. The flavors available, the perception of safety and increasing public acceptance of vaping has increased demand for these products. Youth vaping rates are rapidly on the rise with a 74% jump in youth vaping seen between 2017-2018. Further steps must be taken to implement safeguards that are similar to those that have been made for cigarettes. With this, we call on the federal and provincial governments to immediately:
- Use an interim order to tighten regulations around the accessibility, and promotion of vaping products.
- The current federal laws allow for manufacturers to sell flavored products to youth, does not oblige manufacturers to include health warnings on packages, and permits advertising across most mediums including: social media, newspapers, public transit, television, radio etc.
- Develop a strategy to protect Ontarian children and youth from the harmful health effects of vaping which includes banning the promotion of vaping products in retail stores.
- Increase public education on the health effects of vaping through public education campaigns. In addition, include awareness of the adverse effects of vaping on lung health in school curriculums.
The Ontario Lung Association looks forward to working with government in addressing this epidemic, which has the potential to become significantly worse on the health of Canadians if proper interventions are not immediately taken.