The vape industry not only in Canada but worldwide has continued to have an uphill battle in regards to regulation. We thought for a while the politicians and regulators in Canada had actually been looking at some of the science and many studies released by the United Kingdom and their stance to vaping when they legitimized our industry in the TVPA (Tobacco and Vaping Products Act). At that point and time we (an industry) assumed we were free to help people looking for a tobacco alternative without the pending doom of further regulations.
Fast forward to today (June 18th, 11am), and you can see the chatter over the last few months regarding a potential flavour ban was possible has come to light. The Canadian Gazette Volume 1, Saturday June 19, 2021 edition was released today on June 18th. You can view the publication here:
What are they banning?
They are essentially proposing to ban all flavoured vaping products and limiting the choices to only tobacco, mint or menthol.
"The proposed Order Amending Schedules 2 and 3 to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (Flavours) and the proposed Standards for Vaping Products’ Sensory Attributes Regulations (the proposal) would implement a complementary, threepronged approach to restricting flavoured vaping products. First, it would further restrict the promotion of flavours in vaping products to tobacco, mint, menthol and a combination of mint and menthol (mint/menthol), including through indications or illustrations on packaging. Second, it would prohibit all sugars and sweeteners as well as most flavouring ingredients, with limited exceptions to impart tobacco and mint/menthol flavours. Third, it would prescribe sensory attributes standards to prevent a sensory perception other than one that is typical of tobacco or mint/menthol"
There are additional regulations alongside that which talk about the promotion of products after those regulations are in place.
The fears of the industry have now come true and all the while the majority of consumers who walk into their vape store or buy their vape e-liquid online have no idea and likely will miss a very crucial part of this, the consultation period.
The Canadian government is giving a public consultation period of 75 days starting today. This is a very important time period because the government must accept all relevant material from the public when it goes into the next stage which is the review portion. This is essentially an email you will write as a impact statement to the government letting you know why they "should not" go forward with these regulations and how it will impact you as someone who uses vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool.
On page 2988 of the proposed regulation here:
It states the instructions for your representation concerns of the proposed order.
"Notice is given that the Administrator in Council, pursuant to sections 7.231a and 30.492b of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act 3c , proposes to make the annexed Order Amending Schedules 2 and 3 to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (Flavours). Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to the Tobacco Products Regulatory Office, Tobacco Control Directorate, Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch, Health Canada, 150 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9 (email: hc.pregs.sc@ canada.ca)."
Once the 75 days has passed then the review portion of the process starts and the government will start taking all the submissions and reviewing it all which is called "Post Publication Analysis. This process can typically take 2-4 months under normal circumstances and may end up taking much longer because of the sheer interest in these regulatory changes. The post publication analysis considers public comments, considers changes based on that feedback and could potentially revise regs.
After post publication analysis it then moves onto examination by legal.
After examination by legal it then goes onto approval. The responsible ministers consider the proposed regulations and/or amendments and approve or send it back.
After it's approved then it's published in the Canadian Gazette 2 which is about 180 days after it's published in the Canadian Gazette 2.
If you are reading this as a consumer of vaping products i highly suggest you look into this further with the links above. Additionally there are a few advocacy groups that you can also look into for more information.
There are also some pretty active Facebook vape groups which you can gain more knowledge at.
Canadian Vaping 19+
When will flavours be banned in Canada?
It's the magical question that everyone is asking at this point but without a solid answer because of so many different situation that may happen. Depending on how many submissions the government gets back during the 75 day consultation period may extend the typical 2-4 month post publication analysis. Additionally this maybe an election year and if a new government comes into power that might delay these regulations for a while longer or potentially get rid of them all together depending on the views of the "potential" new Health Minister that comes into power.
Will vape stores shut down?
That's all dependant if a vape store can survive simply on tobacco, mint and menthol flavours. The sales from those specific flavour profiles along are very lower compared to the amount of flavours offered overall. I can tell you from my own personal preferences that i hate tobacco flavour and mint/menthol strait irritates my lungs. The only other choice i have is to vape flavourless at that point. The real unfortunate aspect to this is the amount of vapers that will go back to smoking cigarettes because of the ban on flavours.
Will vapers return to smoking?
If you take flavours away from vapers there are a certain amount of vapers that will convert back to smoking cigarettes. I think the government believes that less youth overall will vape because of this but sadly from what we have seen in recent studies from San Francisco is that cigarette smoking rates increase because of flavour prohibition. The following is a youth trend among high school students younger than 18. It's the consensus of the entire vape industry that youth should not smoke cigarettes nor should they vape but because of bootlegging and black the current black market they can obviously get there hands on either. While the graph below only shows a certain age demographic it does show that banning flavours is counter productive to the health interest to Canadians.
Can the industry sue the government?
There are steps to file a court injunctions against he Canadian government and it's currently underway now that the official Canadian Gazette 1 regulations came to pass. The legal costs associated with that type of lawsuit will likely top $1,500.000.00 and the CVA (Canadian Vaping Association) is already trying to get donations for this which you can find here:
Why not look at the science?
The vape industry in Canada has continuously asked for the support of the Canadian government to look into the science of vaping, especially from countries which have smoking rates falling very quickly such as the UK.
The evidence is mounting that flavours reduce cravings and increase smoking cessation success. The research done from Yale School of Public Health found that smokers that quit using flavoured products are 2.5 times more likely to be successful. The study concluded by saying "While proposed flavour bans are well-intentioned, they have a disastrous outcome"
The UK's goal is to be free from combustible tobaccos by 2030 (only 9 years from now) while utilizing technology and the backing of science regarding electronic cigarettes. Canada's goal is 5% smoking prevalence by 2035.
The royal College of physicians posted a report called "nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction" which reported that e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health. Smokers are reassured and encouraged to use them and the public can be reassured e-cigarettes are much safe then smoking. They go onto further say that the hazards to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes today are unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.
All of this news comes at a time when Canada is also moving forward with a nicotine cap on all nicotine eliquid which will affect all Canadians. The nicotine cap will likely become law on july 23rd, 2021.