The Langley School District board chair is welcoming the province’s tougher regulation of e-cigarettes to curb vaping among youth.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said vaping products sold in B.C. stores will have limits on the amount of nicotine, be subject to a 20 per cent tax, and restrict where candy and fruit flavours are sold.
School board chair Megan Dykeman said the district, which wrote to provincial ministries calling for action to stop youth vaping, welcomes the changes.
“Our district has worked hard for the last several years to try and deal with it at a school level, an individual school level and a district level but as things grow and become more popular and accessible, provincial intervention, like has had to happen with cigarettes, is where we’re at now,” Dykeman said.
The district will now review the province’s announcement to see how it could impact local students.
“I think as a board, we’re definitely going to be watching closely and we’re hopeful that it’s enough but we will be vocal if we feel there needs to be more [done],” she said.
Vaping use by youth under 19 is illegal but the schools are finding it a challenge to stop students.
“The challenge that I’ve heard… it’s easier to conceal,” Dykeman said. “It sounds as though it’s a harder thing to map and control,” she explained “And with anything new, there isn’t the perception that it’s as dangerous as it is, with young people.”
The increased taxation is another way to curb use, and Dykeman would like to see some of the funds earmarked for education of young people about the dangers of vaping.
“I really think some of that should be directed to an education piece,” she said.
Finance Minister Carole James announced a 20 per cent tax on vaping products, a first in Canada. If passed, the 13 per cent increase in the provincial sales tax for vaping products will come into effect at the start of the new year.
It could bring in $2.5 million this fiscal year, and $10 million in the 2020-2021 year. The provincial taxes on tobacco products generates about $25 million per fiscal year.
“We really do support any measure or activity that will help curb youth vaping,” Dykeman said.