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Quebec plans to hit the vaping industry with a new tax next fall


Quebec is planning to tax vaping products. The idea was included in Thursday's economic update and is being applauded by anti-tobacco groups.

The federal government already levied a similar tax which will come fully into effect in the new year. The province's excise tax is expected to match it and be applied to the price of products next fall.

Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador have all moved in the same direction.

Those working for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control (QCTC) are pleased Quebec is joining the other provinces with this measure since they're reporting there's been a significant increase in high school students who use nicotine vaping products.

"I think the good news is that this tax was positioned as a public health measure. It's in the context that we've got 18 per cent of Quebec youth using vaping products, with a third of them using them on an almost daily and weekly basis," said Flory Doucas, the QCTC's co-director.

Doucas said surveys have shown that a significant proportion of young people say they would like to quit because they realize they're addicted to the products.

"And so we're really facing a huge problem, you know, in trying to curb (vaping)," said Doucas.

In Quebec, it's expected it will cost a consumer a total of $2 for 2 ml of vaping liquid for the first 10 mL of the substance.

"So we're likely to see for a product that has 2 to 4 mL, which is what is being sold on the market in most convenience stores, an increase in the tax it's of about $2 to $4 for that package. So that's quite substantial," Doucas said.

Experience with tobacco products has informed the coalition's view. Doucas said they saw consumption of tobacco products slide among "price sensitive" consumers, which include pre-teens, teens and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

"It's the same principle that we're looking to apply with vaping products given that they are so popular among kids, young people, who have never smoked," the activist said.

On the upside, she noted the federal government already capped the amount of nicotine in the products, making them slightly less addictive for youths, or at least "giving them a better chance."

Now the QCTC intends to tackle the vaping flavour issue, along with the pricing, since another challenge is the aggressive way manufacturers market their wares, said Doucas, and what she described as a "price war" between the various companies.

"I think that the industry will adapt, it's always adapting to public measures and public knowledge, especially in terms of policies that are meant to reduce consumption," she said. Top Stories

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