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Heart and Stroke report: Most youth vapers begin before age 16

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Heart and Stroke report: Most youth vapers begin before age 16

Nine in 10 young vapers said they use e-juice that contains nicotine, while two-thirds said they use vapes that have the highest concentration of nicotine available (50-60 mg/mL). The limit in the European Union is 20 mg/mL.

According to the report, the amount of nicotine consumed weekly by young people who vape regularly is equal to the quantity in six packs of cigarettes.

“The time to act is now. Although there are varying protections in place across the country, a number of policy measures need to be implemented nationwide to strongly address the youth vaping crisis,” says Dr. Mohammed Al-Hamdani, Director of Health Initiatives at the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and lead researcher for the study. “This includes the federal government implementation of a robust set of policies including a comprehensive flavour ban, excise tax, and capping nicotine levels. Provinces should also utilize taxation and raise the minimum purchase age to 21 (for both smoking and vaping).”

The survey also found that more than 25 per cent of young people who vape say they later started smoking cigarettes. Meantime, just 17 per cent said they started vaping in an effort to quit smoking.

Coupled with the risk of addiction and damage to developing brains caused by nicotine, Heart and Stroke notes that those who both vape and smoke have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

The survey was funded by Heart and Stroke and questioned young adults between the ages of 16-24 who vaped at least once weekly over a three month period prior to the survey. A total of 1,871 respondents took part, including 1,328 from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and B.C.

Earlier this year, an ad hoc group of physicians called on Jason Kenney and the UCP government in Alberta to make changes to its recently passed Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, which was given royal assent on June 26.

Doctors said legislation must be changed to ban all flavours, and limit nicotine concentration to 20 mg/mL.

The approved legislation makes the age requirement 18 to purchase vape products, restricts advertising of vaping products, and establishes the authority to consider restrictions on flavoured vapes in the future, if needed. Last fall, 10,000 Albertans gave feedback on the then proposed legislation.

According to, teen vaping rates rose 30 per cent in 2018-19 among students in grades 10-12.

The full Heart and Stroke-commissioned 2020 Youth and Young Adult Vaping Project report is available here.

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