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Sask raises minimum age to buy tobacco and vape products starting February

As of Feb. 1, 19 years of age is the new requirement to buy certain tobacco and vaporizer products in Saskatchewan.

The government of Saskatchewan passed proposed legislation to align the requirements to purchase tobacco with alcohol in October. It was finalized on Thursday.

Retailers will have to update their signage to reflect the new minimum age. According to the new legislation, the sign must be visible at the cash register where products are purchased.

In a press release from the government on Thursday, Saskatchewan’s health minister Everett Hindley said, “It is important for us to protect Saskatchewan youth from the dangers of tobacco and vapour products.”

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“These products have no place in Saskatchewan schools and I’m pleased that MLAs on both sides of the house voted unanimously to take the necessary steps to protect students from being exposed to these products,” Hindley said.

“The overwhelming majority of people who smoke began as underaged teens or preteens,” said Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society senior policy analyst.

“This measure is established as effective to reduce youth smoking and youth vaping,” Cunningham said.

Saskatchewan was the second province to ban smoking in restaurants in 2005. According to Cunningham, this is another opportunity for the province to help lead the country in restricting youth access to tobacco and nicotine products.

However, the Canadian Cancer Society raised concerns with the federal government over Zonnic nicotine pouches, which are available to anyone of any age.

“They can be sold to a ten year old perfectly legally. That makes no sense. These products are highly addictive and it could get youth starting onto a life time of nicotine addiction, and possibly switching to other products, whether it’s e-cigarettes or other tobacco products,” said Cunningham.

Stickers from the government that warn buyers of the new age requirement are expected to be on display at the start of February.

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