Saskatoon

Vaping laws promised in Sask. throne speech long overdue: Cancer Society

Saskatchewan is moving to regulate vaping and vaping products.

Wednesday's throne speech promised new vaping regulations

Saskatchewan and Alberta are the only two province's that do not currently have any vaping legislation. (CBC )

Saskatchewan is moving to regulate vaping and vaping products.

The announcement was part of Wednesday's throne speech, which opened the fall session of the legislature.

Canadian Cancer Society health policy analyst Donna Pasiechnik says bringing in regulations for the smokeless tobacco industry is long overdue.

Pasiechnik told Saskatoon Morning's Jennifer Quesnel there has been a dramatic increase in vaping among teens and that it is not good for their health.

"I think there is some really important measures right off the top that other provincial governments have already adopted, and that is getting rid of the displays and promotion in retail establishments," she said.

Donna Pasiechnik is a health policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society Saskatchewan. (CBC News/Matt Howard)

The Cancer Society has long been lobbying for stricter provincial rules on vaping.

Saskatchewan and Alberta are the last two provinces that don't have any vaping laws.The Cancer Society is urging the government to raise the minimum age to buy the products to 21, restricting flavours and access to E-cigarette products, and banning the use of vaping products anywhere smoking is banned

"We've learned a lot of lessons from tobacco and those same lessons can be applied here, particularly since Big Tobacco is now in the electronic cigarette game," Pasiechnik said, adding keeping vaping products out of teenagers hands is a priority.

"Despite e-cigarettes being intended for adult smokers to help them quit smoking, we've seen skyrocketing rates among youth."

The Human Environments Analysis Laboratory Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) say it's troubled by the rising prevalence of vaping in the community. (CBC)

Pasiechnik said she has heard stories of kids hiding vapes behind a toilet at school so anyone could go in and use it.

She'd like to see the province bring in tougher regulations than what has been done in other provinces.

"A number of measures that we expect to see implemented here in Saskatchewan have already been in other provinces and that doesn't seem to be enough," Pasiechnik said.

If there ever was a time to do some bold things around vaping now is the time.- Donna Pasiechnik, Canadian Cancer Society health policy analyst

One area is banning flavours that appeal to kids.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of flavours appealing to kids, you know candy floss, you name it."

Premier Scott Moe said the vaping regulations will look like the rules around tobacco and alcohol but did not get into specifics.

The Canadian Cancer Society wants restrictions on what flavours are sold for e-cigarettes. (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

Pasiechnik is hoping legislation comes soon.

"Normally the government introduces in the fall, has committee hearings and then adopts in the spring. But given the seriousness of this issue and the fact we're talking about protecting the health of our kids, we'd like to see it wrapped up this fall."

Pasiechnik said with the recent reports of vaping-related illnesses this is an opportune time for the province to introduce legislation.

"If there ever was a time to do some bold things around vaping now is the time."

with files from Saskatoon Morning and Adam Hunter

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