Yukon Government Tackles Rising Vaping Rates with Tax Measures

Yukon government rising vaping tax

The Yukon government is taking proactive steps to address the increasing prevalence of vaping and the associated health risks, particularly among youth. Last Thursday, the government tabled the Coordinated Vaping Product Taxation Agreement Act in the legislature, aimed at curbing the growing rates of vaping across the territory.

Participating in the Federally Coordinated Vaping Tax

If the legislation is passed, the Yukon government will enter into an agreement with the federal government to double the current federal tax on vaping products sold in the territory. This move will not only create a level playing field across all jurisdictions but also allow the Yukon to receive 50 per cent of the taxation revenue collected within its borders.

The Department of Finance estimates that the territory would receive approximately $115,000 under the new Vaping Transfer in 2024-25, and if fully implemented, the Yukon could receive around $780,000 in federal vaping transfers by the fiscal year 2026-27. As part of the agreement, the Yukon will not impose its own tax on these products, and if passed, the new tax rate would be implemented as early as January 1, 2025.

Protecting Public Health, Especially Youth

Finance Minister Sandy Silver emphasized the importance of this measure in reducing widespread vaping among youth, preventing nicotine addiction, and helping to reduce incidences of vaping-related illnesses. By increasing the federal tax on these products, the government expects to create a deterrent for young people and promote healthier choices.

Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee echoed these sentiments, stating that the planned measure is a significant step forward in protecting the health of Yukoners, particularly the youth, from the risks associated with vaping. The initiative reflects the government’s commitment to public health and the well-being of the community.

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Alarming Vaping Statistics Among Youth

The need for action is evident in the alarming statistics surrounding youth vaping. In 2022, one-third of youth aged 15 to 19 and nearly half of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having tried vaping. Since the legalization of e-cigarettes with nicotine in 2018, vaping among youth has risen significantly, from eight per cent to 15 per cent, according to the Yukon government. The vaping rate among young people (aged 15 to 24) is the highest out of all age groups.

Joining the Federal Vaping Product Taxation Framework

The Yukon government is not alone in its efforts to address the vaping epidemic. Ten of the 13 provinces and territories have either joined the federal government’s vaping product taxation framework or have announced their intent to do so, including the Yukon. Three jurisdictions will continue to impose their own tax.

The federal tax consists of the regular federal duty and a second, supplemental duty on vaping products. Once implemented, the tax rate will consist of $2 per two millilitres, or a fraction thereof, for the first 10 millilitres of vaping substance in a product, and $2 per 10 millilitres for volumes beyond that.

As the Yukon government moves forward with this initiative, it is clear that addressing the rising rates of vaping, particularly among youth, is a top priority. By participating in the federally coordinated vaping taxation arrangement, the territory is taking a proactive stance in preventing nicotine addiction and reducing vaping-related illnesses, while promoting public health and the well-being of the community.

Matthew Ma