The Canadian Vaping Association: Growing contraband tobacco market raises concerns about Canada’s proposed vape flavour ban

Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA

Beamsville, ON, Nov. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Health Canada reviews the thousands of stakeholder responses submitted during the consultation period of the proposed flavour ban, the Canadian Vaping Association urges the department to strongly consider the black-market ramifications. Canada’s increasingly serious problem with contraband tobacco, worsened by the ban on menthol cigarettes, demonstrates the scale of the illicit market that would appear if flavoured vape products were banned.

It is inevitable that a flavour ban will strengthen these channels. It is estimated that contraband tobacco makes up roughly 30% of the total Canadian tobacco market. The illegal tobacco trade was worth nearly $2.6 billion in 2008 and the share of black-market tobacco in the overall underground economy has been rising since 2002. E-liquid consists of only 4 ingredients and is simple to manufacture. The ease of manufacturing coupled with the demand for flavoured vape products, makes e-liquid an attractive product for black-market sellers.

The stated objective of the proposed flavour ban is to deter minors from using the products. Canada already has strong regulation to protect youth, but it has lacked consistent enforcement. Additionally, Canada has failed to implement proper screening at the border to prevent foreign products from bypassing Canadian age-verification laws. Some minors are acquiring vape products online from foreign vendors because of the weak or nonexistent youth protections employed through foreign channels. Upon delivery of the product to Canada, there is no age verification procedure, as would be required for Canadian vendors. Often products sourced from China are significantly cheaper than domestic products and offer free shipping. For the current regulation to be effective, Canada must implement better border controls and increase enforcement.

“While Health Canada has acknowledged that banning flavours would create a contraband market, it appears the extent of which has been greatly underestimated. Illicit markets bypass youth protections and jeopardize product safety. Both youth and adult consumers are best protected through strong regulation not prohibition,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA.


The Canadian Vaping Association is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the independent Canadian vaping industry. The CVA represents over 200 retail and online vaping businesses in Canada and has no funding or affiliation with tobacco companies or affiliates. The association is the primary liaison with the federal and provincial governments on all legislative and regulatory issues related to the independent vape industry.


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