Ontario promises only 'half measures' with new vaping rules, NDP health critic says

The MPP for Nickel Belt says new regulations on vaping products doesn’t go far enough.

Government unveils plans to limit where flavoured and high nicotine vapes are sold

The Ontario government is proposing new regulations to curb access to vaping products. (Aliaksandr Barouski/Shutterstock)

The MPP for Nickel Belt says a new regulation on vaping products doesn't go far enough.

France Gélinas' comments come after Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot announced proposed changes to the retail sale of vaping products.

The new rule, if approved, would limit where flavoured and high-nicotine vapour products are sold. 

But Gélinas said the rules only provide "half measures."

"Vaping products will continue to be available in every corner store and every gas station," Gélinas said. "What will happen is you will have limited flavour and limited amount of nicotine but the products will still be available to all of our youth."

Restrictions on sales locations will not apply to menthol, mint and tobacco-flavoured products, the government said. It's an ineffectual move by the Conservatives, Gélinas said, one that won't curb teen vaping.   

"If you go into any high school in Sudbury or Nickel Belt and ask a 17-year- old how many of his peers vape, and they will say 'most of them,'" Gelinas said.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas calls the proposed vaping product rules just 'half measures.' (Legislative Assembly of Ontario)

Gélinas said that she is in full support of specialty vape shops, because of the requirement to show identification to enter the premises or buy products. 

"But I'm not for having vaping products everywhere –  in every corner store, in every gas station," she said. 

Gélinas said this follows a half-hearted attempt from the Ford government to keep tobacco and vaping companies from marketing to kids, including an amendment to the Smoke Free Ontario Act that allows the companies more freedom to pitch their wares.

"This is a very powerful industry," Gélinas said. "They're all owned by big tobacco companies and they know how to do advertising. They know how to get people addicted to nicotine and they know that once they have a generation addicted to nicotine they will buy their products no matter the cost."

"If you have a 17-year-old in your family, ask him or her to flip her phone on. I guarantee you within the first 60 seconds an ad for vaping will come up on their phone."

The new regulations, if approved, could take effect as early as May, 2020.