Consumers’ Association of Canada criticizes Health Canada for ignoring consumer feedback
VANCOUVER, BC, Oct. 12, 2021 /CNW/ – The Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) is renewing efforts to ensure consumer voices are heard as Health Canada prepares new regulations for flavoured vaping products, through submissions, radio ads and a new testimonial video.
First, the CAC filed a submission condemning Health Canada for silencing 24,000 consumer voices during an earlier consultation about restricting flavoured vaping products.
Second, the CAC is relaunching a national radio ad campaign to protest this action, building on ads that ran in early August.
Third, the CAC has released a new video testimonial from vaping consumers and health experts that details the importance of flavoured products in helping smokers quit, and which demonstrates why consumer voices need to be heard on this issue.
“It is unacceptable that Health Canada, or any government agency, would overtly exclude consumer voices from a consultation that directly impacts consumers. This is a dangerous precedent that we do not take lightly,” stated CAC President Bruce Cran.
In draft regulations to restrict flavoured vaping products published on June 18 in the Canada Gazette, Health Canada reports it received over 24,000 submissions to an earlier consultation, “including nearly 23,000 postcards and almost 1,450 template emails from people who vape,” versus “288 unique responses from a variety of stakeholders, 100 template submissions from health professionals, health organizations and the general public.” The draft regulations then state that “excluding postcard responses, 66% were supportive of further restrictions” (emphasis added). None of the postcard responses from consumers supported the proposed restrictions.
“Health Canada ignored the more than 24,000 responses it received from vapers – who are the people most impacted by the regulation. Moreover, in calculating the purported 66% support, Health Canada seemingly included letter-writing campaigns from ‘health professionals,’ but not vapers themselves. This seems to be an egregious and blatant attempt to distort the numbers to show support for the restrictions, since if the consumer responses are counted, the proposal is rejected by 95% of respondents,” stated Cran.
The Health Canada proposal would ban all flavoured vaping products other than tobacco, mint and menthol. The CAC has taken a position in favour of adult consumer choice on this issue, believing adults should be able to choose their preferred type of product, especially one that could help them reduce or quit smoking. Therefore, it is equally concerning that Health Canada’s draft regulations acknowledge that the lack of consumer choice with flavours may in fact drive people back to smoking or prevent smokers from switching to vaping.
“This may be the most baffling move by a public health department in recent memory: crafting a regulation that will lead to more smoking. It would be one thing to naïvely undermine the concept of harm reduction with an ill-conceived regulation; to do it knowingly is contemptible,” added Cran.
The CAC submission argues there are alternatives to the proposed Health Canada restrictions that would allow adults to continue to access their preferred flavours while ensuring youth cannot.
About the Consumers’ Association of Canada
The Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC), founded in 1947, is an independent, national, not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization. The longest serving and most respected consumer organization in Canada, our mandate is to inform and educate consumers on marketplace issues, to advocate for consumers with government and industry, and to work with government and industry to solve marketplace problems.
SOURCE Consumers’ Association of Canada