FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government introduced amendments to the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act today in the legislative assembly in keeping with a commitment in the speech from the throne to develop a strategy to combat youth vaping.

These amendments seek to license vape shops and fund public education campaigns aimed at reducing the use of substances, including through vaping.

“Most tobacco use begins during adolescence, so actions to protect young people from a lifetime of nicotine addiction are critical,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We must act now.”

Licensing vape shops would enable the province to conduct inspections, provide greater opportunity for educating retailers, increase their accountability, and facilitate communication with them in the event of a health emergency, such as a product recall.

The amendments would come into effect on Jan. 4, 2022 but vape shops would not need to be licensed until April 1, 2022. This would allow time for communication with industry, to work with any retailers who need help, and to align with licence renewal dates and the start of the fiscal year. The licence would cost $100 for each shop. There are about 40 vape shops in the province.

In addition, the Department of Health is allocating funds for public education on prevention and protection to help reduce all substance use, including through vaping.

“Anytime changes are made to legislation, we must always measure the potential burdens against the common good and health of the public,” said Shephard. “We believe the education and safety of New Brunswickers is crucial, and we are proud to see the legislative collaboration on this important file.”

Most stores, including convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and tobacco shops, currently hold a provincial licence and are already inspected for selling tobacco.