Nunavut bans smoking in public housing, targets flavoured vaping products

·2 min read
Lorne Kusugak said vaping is becoming more popular in Nunavut, and needs to be addressed right away. (Beth Brown/CBC - image credit)
Lorne Kusugak said vaping is becoming more popular in Nunavut, and needs to be addressed right away. (Beth Brown/CBC - image credit)

Nunavut MLAs have passed a law that makes it illegal to smoke in subsidized housing, as well as staff housing provided by the Government of Nunavut.

Health Minister Lorne Kusugak proposed Bill 57, an update to the Tobacco and Smoking Act, which passed on May 28. It aims to cut down on smoking in the territory.

The amendments ban public housing tenants and workers in government housing from smoking in their homes. The Nunavut government houses 1,620 employees, of which 446 are Inuit and 1,193 are non-Inuit.

The new law also bans smoking in cars with young people, and prohibits the sale of flavoured vaping products.

19 now minimum age to buy flavoured vaping products

Nineteen is now the minimum age to buy flavoured vaping products and set a maximum for the concentration of nicotine, under the ammendment.

According to Nunavut's 2018-19 Tobacco Control Act annual report, 51 per cent of Nunavummiut 12 to 19 years old smoke — six times the national rate.

The report also states that 62 per cent of Nunavummiut ages 12 and up smoke, as compared to other provinces where 16 per cent of people 12 and up smoke.

Kusugak said in legislature at the end of May that vaping is catching on in the territory, which is why it needs to be addressed right away.

"People are being able to access it through the Internet and other means. It is starting to catch on and it is gaining traction and we would really like to put a stop to that," he said.

Kusugak spoke of assigning up to half a dozen officers to enforce the law in the territory, along with providing training for bylaw officers so they can clamp down on infractions.

He also said there needs to be an education process so vendors of tobacco products know the rules, and the penalties if they don't follow them.

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