(Reuters) – Canada’s minister of health, Patty Hajdu, on Thursday proposed banning promotion and advertising of vaping products in public spaces, convenience stores and online, in an effort to curb youth use of e-cigarettes.
Hajdu also announced new mandatory health warnings on vaping product packaging.
The proposed regulations come amid growing fears surrounding vaping’s safety and mounting evidence that youth vaping is on the rise both among people who once smoked and those who had not.
While e-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and a means to help smokers quit, health officials are concerned they are getting a new generation hooked on nicotine.
The number of Canadian teens who said they had vaped in the past month doubled from 10% to 20% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, according to the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey.
“The latest statistics … are alarming,” Hajdu said in a news release. “We are working with experts and all Canadians to find ways to prevent youth from vaping,” she added. “The new measures announced today will help, but there is more to do.”
In an interview with the CBC public broadcaster, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the measures a “first step.”
“There’s a lot more information to gather,” he said. “We are very worried about the reports of the extremely negative impacts of vaping.”
A U.S. study released earlier this week found that e-cigarette use significantly increases the risk of developing chronic lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Leslie Adler)