Toronto

Toronto Public Health calling on Ottawa to introduce stricter vaping rules

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is calling on the federal government to implement stricter rules to prevent young people from vaping.

Around a quarter of Canadian high schoolers vape

Vaping has been linked to thousands of lung injury cases, most of them in the United States. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Toronto Public Health says the federal government must do more to prevent young people from vaping.

The recommendations in the unit's report, which was released Monday, include banning vaping advertising in all places accessible by minors, prohibiting the sale of flavoured vape products in stores accessible by minors, and setting a nicotine limit for all vape products.

TPH is also calling on the city to amend existing smoking bylaws to also cover vaping.

"We need to create environments that prevent people from using these products and reduce the appeal to youth," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health.

"More actions are needed to further protect the public from the health risks associated with these products."

The report comes amid concerns that Canadians are becoming increasingly addicted to vaping and e-cigarettes. Statistics show that around a quarter of all Canadian high school students vape.

Laurie Zawertailo, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said a move by the United Kingdom to restrict vaping advertising to young people has proven to be effective.

Zawertailo said the TPH proposal would be similar to the rules in the U.K.

"There, you see very little uptake among youth, especially youth that have never smoked because they just don't see it as something that youth do. They see it as something that their parents or grandparents do to stop smoking," she said.

However, some health experts say the strategy to promote vaping as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking has largely been a failure, since many cigarette smokers have not made the switch.

There are also growing concerns that vaping may be causing a serious form of lung damage that is still not entirely understood.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented 2,290 lung injury cases and 47 deaths associated with vaping. Canadian officials have confirmed four such cases and no deaths.

Ontario has already introduced legislation to ban vaping advertising in convenience stores and gas stations begining in January.

The TPH report will go to the city's board of health meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.

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