Health Canada proposes a cap on nicotine levels in vaping products

Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced earlier in December that Health Canada will be proposing a lower limit of nicotine concentration in vaping products. This comes after the increasing vaping rates found in youth in the past two years.

A study funded by Heart & Stroke found that two-thirds of youth are using vaping products that contain 50-60mg/ml of nicotine, which is amongst the highest concentration of nicotine being sold. The current maximum concentration is 66mg/ml in vaping products, but in Health Canada’s proposal, they are suggesting a maximum concentration of 20 mg/ml.

“Nicotine is highly addictive and damages developing brains,” said Heart & Stroke Board Member Dr. Andrew Pipe in a statement. “Many products used by youth have high concentrations of nicotine – as much as an entire package of cigarettes. Limiting the amount of this incredibly harmful substance is an important step towards protecting youth.”

According to Health Canada, the risk of vaping with nicotine is not known to cause cancer, but constant use can lead to addiction and hinder one’s memory and levels of focus. For youth, vaping products that contain nicotine pose an even higher risk. The nicotine found in these products can affect teenage brain development and pose cognitive and behavioural problems in youth.

The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act that was put into place in May 2018 restricts vaping products to be sold or given to individuals under the age of 18, however, a survey done by Health Canada found that 54 per cent of students from grades seven to 12 found it “fairly easy” or “very easy” to gain access to an e-cigarette with nicotine. In the 2018-2019 survey, approximately 165,000 students in grades seven to 12 reported a daily or almost daily use of e-cigarettes with nicotine.

With the new maximum nicotine concentration cap, Health Minister Hajdu said she hopes this newly proposed regulation will protect Canadians from potential health risks.

“Our work to protect Canadians from the harms of vaping products continues,” said Hajdu in a news release. “These changes will help reduce the appeal of vaping products to youth.”

The public consultation process started on Dec. 19 and will continue over the course of 75 days.

For more information on vaping, click here.

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