Liberal MLA tables bill to ban 'kid-friendly flavouring' of vape juice
Experts have pushed for a ban already
A B.C. Liberal MLA says it's time for the government to protect kids and ban flavoured vape juice.
Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced a private member's bill Thursday that he said would keep tobacco and vapour products away from young people.
In a statement, Stone said the bill would amend the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act to ban flavoured vape juice, make retail rules stricter and stiffen penalties for rule-breakers.
"Vaping and e-cigarette use is quickly becoming an epidemic among the youth of British Columbia," Stone said.
"It is baffling and simply dangerous that more is not happening immediately to quell this. Government needs to act on this now."
Studies show one-third of high school students from Grades 10 to 12 are vaping, Stone said, adding tobacco companies are "enticing youth with sugary flavouring."
Health minister not opposed
In Question Period Thursday, Stone posed a question to Health Minister Adrian Dix asking if he would ban "kid-friendly flavouring" of vape juices, like bubblegum, cotton candy and gummy bears.
Dix responded that while flavoured cigarettes are banned, flavoured vape juice is an "evolving" area for the law to deal with.
"I'm very interested in looking at that option," Dix said of a ban. "Maybe the regime we put in place is not adequate."
He said a bigger push was needed involving government, teachers, parents and youth.
Peace River North MLA Dan Davies pushed the Education Minister Rob Fleming on providing better resources in schools to improve awareness of the risks of vaping.
Fleming said new efforts are being made to snuff out e-cigarette use.
The Liberals currently have 42 seats in the Legislature, while the NDP has 41. The Greens have three seats and they have formed a confidence and supply agreement with the NDP.