Feds must enforce vaping penalties to protect kids: advocates

OTTAWA — Advocates on both sides of the vaping debate say the government must do more to enforce penalties for selling vapes to kids after a review concluded no changes to the legislation were warranted.

The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act aims to walk the narrow the line between giving people who smoke a safer alternative to combustible tobacco products and protecting youth and people who don't already smoke from taking up vaping.

Health Canada decided amendments to the law were not necessary after looking at feedback from provinces and territories, NGOs, members of the vaping industry and the public.

The review said the government can use regulations to tailor industry rules, but enforcement tools for rule-breakers may be limited beyond issuing warnings and Ottawa could explore other options.

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada executive director Cynthia Callard says the act already includes hefty fines and penalties for offences, but they haven't been used.

Maria Papaioannoy, a spokesperson for Rights4Vapers, also says it would be helpful if Health Canada focused on enforcement, particularly when it comes to selling vapes to minors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2023.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press