British Columbia Moves Flavored Nicotine Pouches Behind Pharmacy Counters to Protect Youth

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British Columbia has ordered that flavored nicotine packets be placed behind pharmacy counters instead of being sold openly, to prevent young people from becoming addicted.

The order, signed by Health Minister Adrian Dix, means buyers of the sachets will first need to consult a pharmacist.

“By limiting access to these products and ensuring they are distributed by qualified healthcare professionals, our goal is to prevent their misuse, particularly among young people for recreational purposes,” Dix said.

Premier David Eby says the province is doing what it can to prevent children from coming into contact with the “dangerous” and “addictive” product, while Health Canada works to change the rules allowing the sale sachets in convenience stores and gas stations.

Eby said nicotine can cause changes in young people’s brains and the government wants to prevent them from being exposed to these products, which experts say are designed to appeal to children.

WATCH | British Columbia announces provincial restrictions on sales of oral nicotine pouch products:

British Columbia restricts youth access to nicotine pouch products

The British Columbia government has announced a provincial restriction on the sale of oral nicotine pouch products, including those from the Zonnic brand. In a statement, the province says the changes will move the product behind pharmacy counters in hopes of reducing access for young people, and that people wishing to purchase the product will need to consult a pharmacist.

Ottawa has approved the sachets – produced by cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco under the Zonnic brand – as a product intended to help smokers quit.

Zonnic does not contain tobacco and, because the pouches contain less than four milligrams of nicotine each and are not inhaled, they do not fall under current federal or provincial tobacco or vaping legislation.

An advertisement shows a man on a bus with a slightly surprised expression and writing saying "put it in your mouth"
An advertisement for Zonnic, flavored nicotine sachets sold in Canada, is visible on the company’s Instagram account. (Zonnic Canada/Instagram)

In British Columbia, you must be 19 years or older to purchase vaping products or tobacco.

In November, Federal Health Minister Mark Holland said regulators had been “misled” and vowed to fill this gap this allowed Zonnic to be sold openly.

“There are very serious questions about what the tobacco industry is doing and what their intentions are. And it appears their intention is to get young people addicted to nicotine, which is disgusting,” Holland told the time.

A tall white man speaks at a podium reading
British Columbia Premier David Eby says nicotine can cause changes in the minds of young children, and the province wants to prevent the sale of nicotine pouches to young people. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Colette Lees, addiction liaison with the Surrey School District, said the lure of nicotine products with enticing flavors and marketed as harmless alternatives to smoking “has proven to be a huge challenge” for young people who are often unaware of their addictive nature. .

The Canadian Cancer Society applauded the decision, noting that while smoking rates among British Columbia youth are declining, other modes of nicotine consumption are significantly increasing.

“With the introduction of flavored nicotine pouches last year, young people may once again become addicted to these new tobacco industry products,” he said in a statement.

Charles Aruliah, the company’s Vancouver advocacy manager, says the nicotine pouches were placed in convenience stores next to products like candy bars that were easily accessible to young people.

On the coast7:28 a.m.Canadian Cancer Society responds to restrictions on nicotine pouch sales in British Columbia

Charles Aruliah, advocacy manager for the Canadian Cancer Society in Vancouver, reacts to the British Columbia government’s announcement that nicotine pouches would now be sold only behind the pharmacy counter, after consultation with a pharmacist.

“In the U.S. and Europe, where these products have been on the market for some time…we are seeing that there has been significant usage and adoption among young people,” he told Amy Bell, guest host of the CBC show. On the coast.

“Some countries are starting to consider banning this product altogether.”

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