November 14th 2019 was a big day for the vaping industry in British Columbia. The Provincial Government announced their proposed strict measures governing the sale of vaping products in B.C. in an effort to keep these products out of the hands of the youth.
B.C.'s plan includes 10 measures, one of which is to define nicotine as a "public health hazard" under the Public Health Act, the rest are as follows:
20mg/ml nicotine cap -Plain packaging with Warnings
- New regulations will restrict the amount of nicotine in e-cigarette liquid to 20 milligrams per millilitre, and force plain packaging with health warnings on all vapour products.
- The 20 mg limit matches levels set by the European Union and is considered by health professionals as a level that encourages smoking cessation.
- No flavours other than tobacco in non 19+ stores (gas stations etc)
- The new rules stop short of a ban on flavoured vape products. Instead, B.C. proposed the sale of flavoured vape products be restricted to shops that enforce age restrictions to enter them. There are approximately 150 such stores in the province that would be able to sell additional flavours.
- The remaining retail outlets, such as gas stations and corner stores, would still be allowed to sell e-cigarettes but only with regular tobacco flavours.
- No flavours appealing to children
- Some flavours that particularly target children will be banned in the years ahead, once they are identified and after consultation with industry.
- The regulatory changes will come into effect on April 1, 2020, following consultation.
- Raise PST from 7% to 20%, a 13% increase
- Health Minister Adrian Dix said he will introduce legislation to increase the provincial sales tax from 7% to a whopping 20% on vaping products such as vaping devices, flavour pods and accessories. British Columbia will be the first province in Canada to specifically tax e-cigarettes.
- The new tax rate will come into effect Jan. 1, 2020, if the legislation passes. The same tax would also increase the tobacco tax rate by 2 cents to 29.5 cents per cigarette.
- The vape tax is proposed to generate roughly $10 million a year in new revenue, and the additional tobacco tax is expected to add $25 million to the provincial treasury.
- Shops and Gov’t work together on Youth Vaping Awareness
- Vaping Awareness Kits for Schools
- Establish an Anti Youth vaping Marketing Campaign
- No advertising
- 40% More enforcement
- The changes will be accompanied by new education and youth marketing campaigns. There will also be more education-focused measures, including a vaping prevention toolkit for schools that's being built in partnership with the B.C. Lung Association.
- The province is considering limits to public advertising of vape products as well.
- There are roughly 90,000 businesses in B.C. with the potential to sell e-cigarettes and vape products, including local corner stores, convenience stores and gas stations. They do not require a licence, and health inspectors are stretched thin to catch anyone selling illegally to minors.
- Health Minister Adrian Dix has previously proposed a government licensing program in hopes to lower the number of retailers.
Now keep in mind these are what has been proposed, not all of them may make the cut and pass. The tax increase aspect of it will require a vote and legislation passed for it for it to go through, but the rest though is completely within the government's power to enact provincially with little effort.
We suspect the measures that will stick and take effect if left unvoiced are:
- 20mg/mL (2%) maximum nicotine strength limit on vaping products
- PST increase from 7% to 20%
- Flavoured products only available in 19+ age restrictive establishments with further specific flavour profiles banned at a later date that are deemed "appealing" to youth
- Advertising ban in non age restrictive environments
What are your thoughts on these proposed regulations? Do you think these will help curb the current "Epidemic" of youth vaping? Will these be picked up by other Provinces?
Now is the time to reach out to your local MLA if your in BC and speak to them about these measures and how they will affect you, what you think are good and what are bad about them. Tell them your story, what vaping has done for you. Call/Email/Meet them in person, let them hear your voice, thoughts, and concerns, find your MLA here.
That all being said, the writing is on the wall, if you are a high nicotine strength user, now is the time to start lowering your strength as its very likely you will be unable to legally purchase anything over 20mg/mL come April 2020 from anywhere in B.C.
Come on by our store or reach out to us and we can offer suggestions for products and methods that work to obtain similar satisfaction from lower strength products and the benefits for doing so.