Saskatchewan Medical Association calls for higher legal age for vaping

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) is happy to see the provincial government is moving towards controlling and regulating vaping in the province, but its members hope the government will consider introducing tougher laws to help control rising vaping numbers among Saskatchewan youth.

During the week, Health Minister Jim Reiter announced new vaping regulations for the province. Dr. Mark Brown, a physician from Moose Jaw, said the SMA is thrilled with the news.

“We applaud the government. This issue requires leadership on their part and they have shown it,” he stated.

While it is a step in the right direction, the association is calling on the government to consider establishing a few laws. One of their top suggestions is banning the sale of tobacco, cannabis and vaping products to individuals under 21 years of age.

“The worry we have now is the massive increase in vaping among our teens in the province,” discussed Brown. “We have three times higher rates than the rest of the country.”

In Saskatchewan, the rate sits at around 22 per cent compared to the national average of eight per cent.

A study by the British Medical Journal also found there was a 74 per cent increase in vaping among Canadian youth from 2017 to 2018.

Brown believes one way to stop numbers from rising is by eliminating gateway options for young individuals such as flavoured vaping products. It’s something the health minister has been looking at possibly banning in the future.

Brown said doctors in the province feel it’s the right choice. “It’s a gateway. They say there’s nothing to worry about because it’s not nicotine, it’s just flavoured oils.”

“But that introduces them to the devices, and eventually they take the steps to vaping or smoking.”

The legal age to purchase and use e-cigarettes and vaping products in Saskatchewan is 18.

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