Teen vaping rates rise as Alberta set to make legislative changes

The rate of vaping among Alberta high school students jumped dramatically from eight per cent in 2014-15 to 22 per cent two years later. 

Lorna Rosen, deputy minister of Alberta Health, gave the latest available figures for teens from grades 10 to 12 in an answer during the Public Accounts Committee meeting Tuesday morning. 

The use of e-cigarettes or vaping products is not covered under the current version of Alberta’s Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act, legislation the government has said is due for changes this year. 

Jeremy Nixon, the UCP MLA for Calgary-Klein, led a review of the act last fall with an aim of regulating vaping. 

Nixon submitted his report to Health Minister Tyler Shandro at the end of 2019. He said he will meet with Shandro soon to discuss his recommendations.

Nixon spent two months meeting with parents, teachers and police across the province, and said the teens he spoke to had misconceptions about the safety of the devices. 

“I think there was some information out there that it was less harmful than smoking or it was a safe alternative,” Nixon told CBC News. 

Nixon didn’t want to talk about the findings of his report because he still has to discuss it with the minister. 

Alberta is the last Canadian province to regulate the sale and use of vaping products. 

Saskatchewan passed legislation last fall with regulations set to come into effect this spring.

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