The sale of flavoured vaping products will be banned starting Oct. 31 in Quebec. The government hopes this move will discourage young people from adopting vaping. But the industry says it will just push them to the black market.
The Legault government confirmed on Wednesday the adoption of a regulation first announced last spring.
“These new regulations concerning vaping products aim in particular to protect young people from the harmful and worrying effects of vaping,” Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a statement. “It is our responsibility and we will ensure that these substances become less attractive to everyone.”
The government stressed that young people’s consumption in secondary school is on the rise. In 2013, four per cent of youths reported having vaped in the previous 30 days, according to a Quebec survey on tobacco, alcohol, drugs and gambling among high school students. The proportion increased to 21 per cent in 2019.
The flavours attract young people, pulling them toward vaping, said Flory Doucas, spokesperson for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control. “What piques the curiosity of young people, what creates enthusiasm, is the flavours. It’s the idea of being able to share, try and increase the diversity of flavours. Vaping among young people is a very social phenomenon. We share the devices, we talk about the different flavours.”
The regulations also impose a 20-milligrams-per-millilitre maximum on nicotine strength for all vaping products. It restricts the capacity of tanks and pods to 2 mL and the maximum volume of vape liquid refill containers to 30 mL. “Certain information” on the vaping products and their packaging will also have to be entered.
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) called the regulations “significant progress in protecting the health of young Quebecers.”
David Raynaud, senior manager of public interest advocacy at the CCS, said in a statement: “We want to stop a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes.”
On the other side of the argument, the Vaping Industry Trade Association accused the government of resorting to “magical thinking” and evoking “catastrophic consequences.”
“Even by abolishing flavours, young Quebecers will continue to thwart the system by illegally obtaining flavoured products on the black market or online with prepaid cards,” association director and founder Daniel Marien said in a statement.
The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) also denounced the move, saying vaping products help people quit smoking.
“As a result of the new regulations, more than 90 per cent of vaping liquids currently in use will be classified as illegal,” the CVA said in a statement. “This prohibition will impact the majority of vapers, who prefer flavoured products to tobacco flavour.”
Limits on capacity will also restrict consumer choice and increase costs, it said.
“Nearly 400,000 vulnerable Quebecers rely on flavoured products to fight their addiction to combustible tobacco,” the CVA said. “Prior to mainstream adoption of nicotine vapour products, tobacco control efforts had been relatively stagnant for several years.”
Instead of a ban, the CVA proposed limiting flavoured products to “licensed age-restricted specialty vape stores” and greatly increasing enforcement with harsher penalties for black-market sales.
But Doucas believes that despite the black market, the regulations will have an effect on young people’s consumption. She gave the example of flavoured cigarillos: “Quebec had been a precursor there, too. It was just a few years later that the federal government followed suit, but already in the first year of application, we had seen a decrease in the enthusiasm of young people for small flavoured cigarillos.”
Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have also banned flavouring in vaping products. “It is certain that pan-Canadian regulations would be more effective than provincial measures, but we have to start somewhere,” Doucas said.
From Montreal Gazette, Published Aug 02, 2023
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