NEWS
03/10/2016 10:12 EST | Updated 03/11/2017 00:12 EST

Saskatchewan doctors call for laws on electronic cigarette sales to protect kids

SASKATOON — The ease with which young people can buy electronic cigarettes is firing up the Saskatchewan Medical Association.

Association president, Dr. Mark Brown, says there are no regulations around buying e-cigarettes in Saskatchewan.

Brown says that means there's nothing to stop a five-year-old child from buying e-cigarettes, even though the products contain nicotine.

The doctor says he's concerned that products, such as flavoured tobacco and e-cigarettes, could appeal to young people who may become addicted and start using other tobacco products.

The association is calling for regulations around e-cigarettes and a ban on all flavoured tobacco to discourage smoking among youth.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan said last month that there are no imminent plans to change provincial smoking laws to cover electronic cigarettes.

Duncan said the issue should be approached with caution because using e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, could possibly be used to help people stop smoking.

The health minister cited a report last August by Public Health England, which says almost all of 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers.

The report said most of the ex-smokers are using the devices to help them quit smoking, or to prevent them from going back to cigarettes.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces that have not banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, according to the Non-Smokers Rights Association. Alberta leaves the decision to municipalities.

Brown said he hopes this call generates talk as political leaders debate health issues during the Saskatchewan election campaign.

The Canadian Press