The province of Alberta is set to introduce a new tax on vaping products in 2020. This is according to the provincial budget that was released last Thursday.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro stated “We’re looking forward to understanding the science behind e-cigarette use and the extent to which it could be a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, but obviously our main concern will be the extent to which children and adolescents start with vaping products.”
The idea behind this provincial tax is to increase the price of vaping products in order to deter youth from using it. While traditionally ‘sin tax’ has been used on items like cigarettes that have a negative effect on the public health system, the concern is adding taxes to vaping products could discourage smokers looking to transition to a safer alternative.
University of Victoria professor Chris Lalonde is against the provincial vaping tax. He states: “If you accept the fact that vaping is safer than smoking – not safe – but safer, adding a tax on the vaping is illogical because there hasn’t been a demonstration that there is anywhere near the same healthcare costs or dangers”
Lalonde goes on to suggest that taxes are the wrong way to go about preventing youth from vaping, because he says youth shouldn’t be able to access the age restricted products in the first place.
From my perspective, increasing prices of vaping products will do little to deter youth from using them. It would be more effective to increase the policing of the sales of vaping products to minors. If businesses in Alberta are selling vaping products to anyone under the legal age, they should be subjected to strict punishments and business shutdown.
What would also be great to see, would be the government of Alberta taking all the funds received from any proposed vaping tax, and putting it into the increased policing regarding sales to minors of vaping products. They could also use these funds for improved education towards youth regarding vaping as well as other adult activities – alcohol, gambling, marijuana, etc.
This is ultimately in the bigger picture, a step in the right direction and a step away from any type of ban or severe restriction on vaping products in Alberta. We will wait and see what the results, if any, of this proposed new tax will be on vaping in Alberta.
Original article from the Edmonton Journal.