MELFORT — Kevin Tetz, the co-owner of Inspired Vapor Company in Melfort, said he’s supportive of some of Saskatchewan’s new legislation on vaping.
The new legislation restricts purchase of vaping or e-cigarette products to people 18 and older; bans the display of vaping or e-cigarette products in stores where youth are allowed; restricts advertising of vaping products; bans vaping around schools and other public buildings; and prohibits the sale of vaping products in facilities that youth frequent.
The changes are to take effect in the spring.
Tetz said restricting youth under the age of 18 is something vaporizer shops have already been practicing under national legislation.
“With regard to vape shops being restricted to provide products 18 year olds or older only, no sale to minors, I’m 100 per cent for it. It shouldn’t be any other way,” he said.
Tetz said he also doesn’t foresee an impact on his store from the restrictions on marketing.
“I’m totally fine with that. I don’t like to make it the same as smoking, because they’re so vastly different – but I’m not opposed to [the restrictions], especially in public places. It shouldn’t hurt business and if it can show the public that we’re not a malicious entity or industry, that we do have the interests or the population at heart, that’s fantastic.”
He said advertising of the products can completely disappear if it helps the public to not see the industry as malicious.
“We’re not about influencing kids and part of what the public needs to see for that to ring true in the eyes of the public is to ban promotion, I would sign a petition for it even.”
The province is not banning flavoured vape products at this time.
Jim Reiter, health minister said the government is currently having consultations on a potential ban or restriction on flavoured vape products. This is something Tetz is opposed to.
“Opposed is a drastic understatement, but probably the strongest I could use in a public publication,” Tetz said. “One of the biggest components of the success of transferring from cigarettes to vaping is they enjoy it more and one of the biggest part of that is probably the flavour that they like more.”
He said he is disgusted by the hypocrisy a flavour ban would carry.
“When I can go to the liquor store and get birthday cake vodka, and alcohol destroys lives and vaping saves them.”
Tetz was a former cigarette smoker who credits vape products to helping him transition to a less damaging product. He said his addiction caused him to he woke up multiple times in the night to have a cigarette.
“I tried other methods,” Tetz said. “But it just seemed like something I could get into and I kind of got into the hobby aspect of it because that kept my hands busy and it was a distraction as well as a nicotine replacement.
“If it’s that or smoking, vaping should be the option.”