“Treat vaping like smoking”: NDP proposes measures to curb rising cigarette and vaping usage by Saskatchewan youth

The NDP and advocates are raising concern over a massive hike in youth vaping in Canada, according to a study released today. NDP Leader Ryan Meili is proposing several measures to address the rising crisis.

“The British Medical Journal’s study shows that there has been a 74 per cent increase in youth vaping in Canada – that’s extremely concerning considering the dangerously high rates of youth smoking we have in the province,” Meili said. “We’re going in the wrong direction on creating a healthy path forward for the youth of Saskatchewan. By failing to take any meaningful action, we are failing the kids of this province.”

“It’s time to treat vaping like smoking.”

From 2013 to 2017, the number of Saskatchewan youth aged 15 and over who have used e-cigarettes jumped from 8.2 per cent to 15.7 per cent – a 91 per cent increase. Other studies have shown that Saskatchewan has the highest rate in Canada of youth aged 15-19 who are smokers.

“With the clear health risks associated with the rise in acceptability and access to vaping devices, it is essential that government regulation prioritizes the health and well-being of children and youth by ensuring that e-cigarettes are regulated responsibly and consistently alongside traditional cigarettes,” said Dr. Karen Leis, general pediatrician in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan representative on the board of the Canadian Pediatric Society.

The Saskatchewan Coalition for Tobacco Reduction, Heart & Stroke Association of Canada and most recently Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officers have all called for action to be taken by provincial governments to curb youth tobacco usage.

NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat has sent a letter to the Health Minister outlining how the government can take immediate action, including treating e-cigarettes and vaping like smoking, including when it comes to advertising restrictions; bringing the legislation that’s already on the books around flavoured tobacco into force; making playgrounds and sports fields tobacco-free; restricting the sale of tobacco at recreational and sports facilities; and requiring a license to sell tobacco.

“A clear and frightening picture is emerging: vaping is driving youth tobacco addiction in our province, and this government has failed to get ahead of it” Mowat said. “We’re calling on the Minister to put Saskatchewan youth first by implementing our recommendations on treating vaping like smoking.”