The Canadian Vaping Association – Quebec’s vaping flavour ban comes into force today, lacking support for smokers and a clear enforcement strategy

BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, Oct. 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a recent Global News interview, Liz Scanlon from Heart and Stroke commended the Government of Quebec for its newly enacted regulation prohibiting the sale of flavoured nicotine vapour products, which comes into force today. However, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has expressed concerns to the Quebec government, arguing that this regulation will not achieve its intended goal of curbing youth experimentation. According to the CVA, the consequences will include the closure of specialty vape shops within the province, the loss of over 1000 jobs, and a shift in consumer demand towards foreign suppliers and the illicit market.

"It’s high time for provinces like Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI to re-evaluate their stance and stop yielding to the influence of big tobacco companies. These regions must come to the realization that they are inadvertently supporting the very issues they claim to be combating," said Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA.

The available data consistently finds that flavour bans fail to effectively protect youth and lead to increased tobacco sales among both young people and adults. Flavour bans act as an impediment for adults who smoke, while failing to add any measure of protection to young people.

"Canadians should not be cornered into taking legal action against their own governments in a bid to mitigate harm and liberate themselves from the grips of smoking. This represents a stark injustice that demands immediate attention and correction," said Tempest.

Regulations which impact the health of thousands of Quebec smokers should not be implemented based on good intentions but based on their proven outcome. Quebec isn’t the first adopter of these types of policies and can learn from the provinces and jurisdictions that have already implemented flavour bans and other restrictive policies.

Nova Scotia’s introduction of a flavour ban and vapour product tax in 2020 serves as a cautionary tale. The 2022 Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey (CTNS) data indicates that these policies failed to achieve their objectives, placing Nova Scotia among the provinces with the highest rates of youth experimentation in Canada. The likely cause of this is the regulations’ role in closing most of the province’s regulated specialty stores, which has resulted in the proliferation of illicit products and sellers. The absence of a regulated market has undoubtedly made it easier for young people to access vape products. The harmful impact of these policies extends beyond youth, as evidenced by a historic 5.6% increase in cigarette sales in Nova Scotia, documented in the province’s Public Accounts immediately following the ban. Furthermore, CTNS data reveals a consistent national decline in youth vaping rates, with provinces that have more permissive vaping regulations experiencing, on average, lower rates of youth usage.

"The CVA encourages the federal government to direct a portion of the revenue collected through excise taxation to strengthening enforcement resources and furthering education and support programs for youth and non-smokers. High rates of youth experimentation are a symptom of weak enforcement programs, and a lack of mental health supports for young people. Canada has some of the strongest youth protection regulations in the world, but regulations require consistent enforcement.

"We find ourselves at a critical juncture. It is crucial for the Heart and Stroke Foundation to revisit its position, advocating for harm reduction strategies with the potential to save lives. We must not forget that smoking is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Our policies and advocacy efforts should align with the aim of reducing harm and saving lives rather than inadvertently contributing to the smoking epidemic," said Tempest.

As the CVA steadfastly advocates for balanced, evidence-based policies, it becomes increasingly apparent that a shift in direction is imperative. The provinces and the Heart and Stroke Foundation need to reconsider their approaches, collaborate, and strive towards solutions that genuinely safeguard the health of all Canadians, regardless of age.

About the CVA: The Canadian Vaping Association is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents over 200 nicotine vaping businesses in Canada and receives no funding from 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 industry. The primary goal of CVA is to ensure that government regulation is reasonable and practical, through the strategy of professional proactive communication and education supplied to health officers, media, and elected officials.

Contact - Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA,