Flavoured liquids used in e-cigarettes are popular with young users.
Julio Cortez / AP
Ottawa Public Health is asking the province to prohibit vaping products that taste like cotton candy, root beer floats, banana splits and other sweet treats that appeal to young people.Flavoured products encourage experimentation, and adolescents consider flavour an important factor in their decision to try vaping products, says an Ottawa Public Health in report to be presented to the Ottawa Board of Health on March 4. If approved by the board, the recommendations will be forwarded to Ontario’s health ministry.The report cites studies that say youth are more likely to initiate vaping with flavoured e-liquids, especially sweet products. Between 2016 and 2017, the province prohibited the sale of flavoured tobacco products. Ottawa Public Health wants that prohibition to be extend to flavoured vaping products, said Marino Francispillai, Ottawa Public Health’s program manager of school, community mental health and wellness.Ottawa Public Health also asks the province that advertising of vaping devices be prohibited at point of sale.While stores can’t promote tobacco products or tobacco accessories, vaping products are advertised online, in newspapers and magazines and in stores. Online and point-of-sale ads have been shown to be particularly effective in making young people more open to using vaping products.Vaping products get around rules restricting tobacco advertising because although they may contain nicotine, these aren’t tobacco products, Francispillai said.“Tobacco has been replaced by another product that is growing at an alarming rate. We have to find a way to tighten up those loopholes.”Health officials in both Canada and the U.S. have sounded the alarm over an “epidemic” of e-cigarette use among teens. The most recent Ontario-wide survey of teens and substance abuse found that 10 per cent of Ottawa high school students in 2017 had vaped compared to six per cent who had smoked.The Ottawa Public Health report also warns that youth and young adults who vape regularly are using nicotine, and many youth who vape also experiment with cigarette smoking. Nicotine can alter adolescent brain development and affect memory and concentration.The report adds that there are concerns about flavouring agents in vaping products. The flavour chemical called diacetyl has been found in some e-liquids and has been associated with a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans known as “popcorn lung,” which causes severe respiratory disease. Another flavoring agent called cinnamaldehyde has effects on lung function and immunity when inhaled.ALSO IN THE NEWSDr. Horace Alexis (1931-2019): Pioneering doctor founded scholarship for disadvantaged black students‘Our kids deserve better’: Parents of children with autism return to MacLeod’s officeHydro crews have to dig deep for transformer in Kanata outage