Councillor wants city to tackle vaping ads targeted at teenagers

A city councillor wants to explore options for cracking down on advertising that aims to sell vaping products to minors.

Coun. Michael Walters gave notice he’ll bring forward a motion at the next council meeting on March 12 asking administration to report back on what municipal enforcement mechanisms could be levied to prevent retailers from selling vaping products to minors, and to find out if there’s anything the city can do about creating and enforcing advertising rules.

Vaping devices burn flavoured liquids called e-juice that contain nicotine.

Walters said he’s noticed aggressive ads in convenience stores, malls and other places that minors frequent.

“When some proprietor thinks it’s fine to put up a four-foot by four-foot vape ad next to a slurpee machine, then the rules are too loose in my view,” he said after giving his notice Tuesday.

Edmonton has already taken the step of including vaping in its public smoking bylaw: the updated rules — aligning vaping with smoking tobacco and cannabis — banning smoking within 10 metres of doors, windows, patios, bus stops and air intakes. Smoking is also restricted in parks.

Walters said the federal minister of health has proposed stricter advertising rules to prevent promoting vaping to minors, and he wants to know if and how the city can help.

It’s a step that Action on Smoking and Health executive director Les Hagen said would be welcome.

“We’ve seen a number of promotions for vaping pop up all over the place. Some locations are adjacent to school properties,” he said in an interview Friday.

According to Hagen, vaping among Alberta high school students tripled between 2015 and 2017. Hagen said 35,000 Alberta youth currently use nicotine products.

Hagen said the city could impose restrictions on signage and add conditions to its licensing bylaw for businesses selling vaping products, but he said ultimately the province needs to step up. He said Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces without any regulations on vaping.

Read more at https://edmontonjournal.com

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