By banning all flavoured vapour products, Quebec ignores overwhelming evidence that these products are a powerful tool for lowering the smoking rate and improving public health
MONTREAL, April 20, 2023 /CNW/ – Yesterday, the Government of Quebec proposed an regressive and arbitrary approach to vaping regulation that has no basis in fact or scientific evidence. By banning flavours – and thus removing a key incentive for smokers to switch to less risky products – the government demonstrates its lack of interest in reducing smoking rates in the province.
Imperial Tobacco Canada (ITCAN) urges the government to rethink its draft regulations and take a more considered approach to regulating flavoured vapour products. Importantly, any approach should avoid penalizing adult smokers who turn to vapour products as less risky alternatives to tobacco.
“It’s disappointing to see Quebec make decisions on such an emotional basis, rather than relying on facts and scientific evidence. Yesterday’s announcement will only force consumers to buy their preferred vapour products illegally or, worse, go back to traditional cigarettes,” said Eric Gagnon, Vice-President of Legal and External Affairs at ITCAN.
Banning flavoured vapour products has already resulted in disastrous public health consequences in Canada, evidenced by Nova Scotia’s 2020 decision to ban all vapour flavours except tobacco and mint. According to their own public accounts reporting, tax revenue from tobacco products then rose by 14% in 2021, driven by a resultant surge in smoking rates.
Health Canada recently stated that vaping is a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and that there is solid evidence that vapour products containing nicotine can help adults quit smoking1. Using vapour products substantially reduces exposure to the harmful substances in cigarettes that can contribute to the development of cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.
The United Kingdom recently launched its “Swap to Stop” initiative: an innovative program to teach adult smokers the advantages of switching to vapour products, including those with flavours. It includes a free starting kit with a vape pen as well as cartridges to encourage smokers to switch to these less harmful products. This investment shows how serious the British government is about harm reduction, and how confident it is in the public health potential of vapour products.
When it comes to youth vaping, it is critical to find practical solutions to restrict underage access. ITCAN’s position has been consistent since day one: Minors should neither smoke nor vape. Tougher fines and penalties coupled with greater enforcement is required to ensure those caught selling to youth are reprimanded.
“We are aware that unfortunately vapour products are accessed by some young people. Vaping regulation is a complex, delicate issue, and we have repeatedly committed to working with the government to find balanced solutions that continue to provide adults with adequate alternatives to tobacco products, while restricting access to youth,” concluded Mr. Gagnon.
Imperial Tobacco Canada is Canada’s leading tobacco and vaping products company and is part of the world’s most international tobacco and nicotine group: BAT. BAT is a global multi-category consumer goods business, operating in over 180 markets. We have a clear purpose to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of our business. Our strong foundations, together with our capacity for cutting-edge innovation, are a platform for us to build more sustainable products for our adult consumers, and a more sustainable business for our colleagues, shareholders, and communities.
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada