(Black Press files)

Surrey council to consider restrictions on vape shops

Councillor Steven Pettigrew has asked staff to consider restrictions or an outright ban

Should Surrey ban vape shops?

It’s something city staff are currently evaluating at the request of Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew.

“The driver is the safety of the children,” he told the Now-Leader of his effort.

“I’ve been having discussions with parents and with school board officials and realized there’s such a strong, strong desire right now of people to be able to look into this situation,” said Pettigrew. “It’s really critical, because we have such a young population and it’s important for us as parents and elected officials to really put the children first and think about what is best for them and protect them. Part of our job as government is to look after our children.”

Pettigrew’s April motion directed city staff to draft a report to provide an update on vape shops and to consider restrictions or an out-right ban.

“At the very least, we need to start to have greater restrictions on them, that’s a given,” said Pettigrew. “At the most, looking at an outright ban across the city. That will be decided by council.”

Pettigrew noted there has been a decline in youth smoking over the years “where younger people have gone into a healthier lifestyle. Now all the sudden, they’ve shifted back into vaping. It’s caught on.”

A recent, yet-to-be published study suggests youth vaping has doubled in the past two years.

“Our best estimates are that 15 per cent of 16-19 year olds vape at least monthly, and about 1 in 10 vape weekly as of 2018. This represents almost a doubling since 2017,” said Professor David Hammond, who studies youth tobacco trends through his work at the University of Waterloo.

Health Canada reports that as of 2017, 4.6 million Canadians aged 15 years and older have tried a vaping product.

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