February 23rd, 2024

B.C. moves flavoured nicotine pouches behind pharmacy counters to protect kids

By The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

B.C. Premier David Eby speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. Flavoured nicotine pouches will now only be sold behind pharmacy counters in British Columbia in an effort to prevent youth from becoming addicted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER – B.C.’s government has ordered that flavoured nicotine pouches only be sold from behind pharmacy counters in the province in an effort to prevent youth from becoming addicted.

The order signed by Health Minister Adrian Dix means buyers of the pouches, which contain up to four milligrams of nicotine, will have to consult a pharmacist.

Premier David Eby says the province is doing what it can to prevent children from coming into contact with the “hazardous” and “addictive” product while Health Canada works to address rules that allowed them to be sold in convenience stores and gas stations.

Eby told a news conference that nicotine use can cause changes in the brain of young people and the government wants to avoid them coming into contact with products that experts say are designed to appeal to children.

The pouches, available in a variety of flavours, are often sold under the brand name Zonnic and are marketed as a way to help adults quit smoking.

Colette Lees, a substance-use liaison with the Surrey School District, told the news conference the allure of nicotine products with enticing flavours and marketed as harmless alternatives to smoking “have proven to be a huge challenge” to youth who are often unaware of their addictive nature.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

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