Sask. adds 20 per cent retail tax for vape products

As part of its 2021-22 budget, the Saskatchewan government is adding a tax to vapour products sold in the province.

The budget was tabled in the legislature on Tuesday.

All vapour liquids, products and devices will be taxed 20 per cent.

The government says the additional cost will help "prevent vapour products from being attractive to youth and non-smokers."

"We know that vaping taxation can help prevent youth initiation and reduce consumption, which of course means it also reduces harm for our healthcare system," said Jennifer May, Vice President Health Promotion & Government Relations at The Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

"Specifically, in Saskatchewan, we have extremely high youth and young adult vape rates," May said.

Alberta introduced a similar tax last year.

Angee Doepker, who owns RPi Vapor in Saskatoon, said she deosn't think the tax is fair.

"I mean, us as an industry, we're supposed to reduce the harm, you know, give a better alternative to quit smoking.

"I mean, honestly, I think Health Canada and government, the lung association and cancer society, all those places, I think they just need to figure out their priorities a little bit better."

However, May said she hopes vaping will eventually become "too expensive" and people will turn away from the practice altogether.

"I think the one piece that we need to remember is that for every person, for every adult who quits smoking as a result of vaping 80 youth vapers will start smoking."

The province's new Vapour Products Tax will go into effect on Sept. 1.