We continue to be very concerned about the harms of vaping. Recent deaths and growing number of hospitalizations in the US and a possible case in Canada, have compelled us to sound the alarm and speak with the urgency this issue deserves. The health of our youth depends on us.
Earlier today, we joined other like-minded organizations (Action on Smoking and Health, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Medical Association, Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, Heart & Stroke, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada) to speak to decision-makers at Parliament.
The time to act is now. We have enough information to know that vaping is harmful to health. We are calling for all party leaders to commit immediately, should they form government, to using an interim order within 60 days of forming government to put vaping products under the same type of restrictions that are in place for tobacco products. This would include measures that would eliminate promotion and marketing, restrict flavours, and limit nicotine levels, amongst other restrictions.
And while our urgent response is partially due to the reports coming out of the US, we would be remiss to think this is not a dangerous trend in Canada. Weak regulations, attractive flavours and marketing as well as weak education have effectively put vaping products right into the hands of Canadian youth. In fact, we know that there was a significant (74%) increase of vaping rates among youth, aged 16-19, between 2017 and 2018. We are also aware of recent reports of one case of hospitalization due to the vaping in Canada, however we cannot speculate on this particular case. It does, however, further strengthen our resolve to act with urgency on this issue.
Vaping includes a highly addictive drug, nicotine, which could lead to addiction to regular cigarettes. Allowing reversal of the progress we have made in tobacco control over the past several decades and letting the vaping industry addict a new generation of Canadians would be unconscionable.
Inhalation of aerosol and the chemicals within vaping devices has an additional set of issues that will undoubtedly have adverse effects on lung health.
Vaping has become an epidemic and we must act with the urgency than an epidemic deserves. We must protect Canadian youth from the known short-term health effects, including cough and worsening of asthma symptoms as well as the potential long-term effects. We need commitment to strict restrictions, more research and better education efforts.
While we will do our part to advocate on the Hill, we implore you to consider vaping and its harms to Canadian youth as you speak with your local federal party candidates.
President and CEO
Canadian Lung Association