Tobacco Smoking & Vaping Enforcement in Alberta
Keara Shaw and Erin Teare
Alberta Health Services
In 2022, Alberta Health Services created a program to support the newly proclaimed Tobacco, Smoking & Vaping Reduction Act and Regulation. This required a task force of public health inspectors and health promotion facilitators to come together and create a proactive retailer awareness and inspection program for the province.
While research has shown a promising decrease in tobacco use across Canada, it has uncovered an alarming increase amongst teens of vape product usage. Previous counter measures including the ticketing or fining of youths for use or possession of these products did little to deter its popularity amongst this group. The goal of the provincial legislation was to help reduce the availability of these health harming products to young people through retailer accountability that included inspections, awareness, and provincial ‘test shopper’ events. The challenge for the public health inspectors was to place legislative restrictions back on an industry that in Alberta, had been left unmonitored for the past 10 years.
This presentation covers the challenges and unexpected demands the Alberta Tobacco, Smoking and Vaping Enforcement team faced as they launched this important health protection program, while highlighting the tremendous successes gained as they returned legislative order to the wild, wild West!