Health Minister Adrian Dix is planning to introduce new legislation this month that will increase the British Columbia sales tax from 7% to 20% on vaping products.
ARTICLE BULLET POINTS:
- New vaping regulation proposal in British Columbia
- Raise taxes on vaping products from 7% to 20%
- Allow flavours outside of tobacco flavours to be sold only in specialty vaping stores
- Increase funding for youth vaping awareness program
- Cap level of nicotine in e-liquid to 20 mg/ml
If passed, this new tax rate will start January 1, 2020. According to estimates, this tax will generate approximately $10 million a year to the provincial government.
The justification for this tax is as follows: “We know that youth are particularly price-sensitive, so when you make a product more expensive and harder to access, users will decline.”
In addition to the vaping tax, the government of British Columbia is proposing a 20 mg/ml cap to e- liquid sold in the province. At this time the only legal restriction on nicotine strength in e- liquid is 66 mg/ml. The European Union has a similar 20 mg/ml on e- liquid sold in Europe. Health professionals in Europe suggest this level encourages smoking cessation.
Advocates of vaping, including the Vaping Industry Trade Association, believe increasing the prices of vaping products through taxes could lead customers into the black market. This would reduce the safety of vaping products in British Columbia. They state that these restrictions could “undermine the switching rates of smokers towards less harmful alternatives.”
In British Columbia there are an estimated 90,000 businesses currently selling vaping products. Of those, the vast majority are convenience stores and gas stations.
Since 2015 it is been illegal to sell vaping products to anyone under the age of 19 in British Columbia. This has been the only vaping restriction in British Columbia until this proposed legislation.
There will be additional restrictions on any business selling vaping products that are not dedicated vaping stores. These restrictions would ban these locations from selling any e- liquid outside of regular tobacco flavors. Only dedicated vaping shops in British Columbia, of which there are approximately 150, would be allowed to sell all flavors of e-liquid.
This proposed regulation will not ban any specific flavors, however, in the conversation is an increased awareness plan to educate the youth in British Columbia on vaping. Todd Stone, the opposition Liberal in BC is welcoming government legislation. He wants to see all additional taxes gained from this proposed legislation to be allocated to the education of youth in British Columbia.
There are many things I like about this proposal as a vape shop owner in Ontario. I do believe that vape products should be sold only in regulated vaping retail locations where IDs are checked at the door. In gas stations and convenience stores where youth have access to enter the premises without restriction, vaping products should simply not be sold at all.
I do not think increasing taxes specifically on vaping products will have any net positive result to reduce youth vaping in British Columbia. Vape product cost rising from $30-$34 would have very few youth suddenly become unable to purchase the products. By reducing the areas where these vaping products can be purchased, it would be much easier to ensure that these 150 stores are correctly turning away minors, compared with policing 90,000+ gas stations and convenience stores.
I very much support the idea of increased education for youth. This education should be allocated to all adult centered products and services legally accessible to Canadian adults, including gambling, alcohol use, marijuana, and vaping.
We at Canada Vapes strongly push back at the idea that any vaping products are geared towards selling to minors. It simply doesn’t make sense for any reputable vaping company to promote or advertise their products to customers who cannot legally purchase the product. We are interested only in promoting our products to adult smokers in Canada who are unable to quit smoking cigarettes and are looking for an alternative.
Adults enjoy sweet candy flavors, both in their alcohol drinks, at the supermarket checkout, in their cereal selections, and in many other areas of life. By using this argument it will be suggested that Tim Horton’s is targeting youth when they create succulent donuts and pastries covered in chocolate, maple, and other sweet and delicious flavors. The same argument could be made against Starbucks when promoting their holiday drinks. Adults enjoy sweet candy and dessert flavours and these flavour choices are what make vaping effective for adults transitioning away from tobacco cigarettes.
Information for this article was received from the Vancouver Sun.