Lowering nicotine levels in vapour products will not deter kids from vaping, but rather make it less likely for an adult smoker to choose a safer alternative
MONTREAL, Dec. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Today Health Canada tabled new proposed vaping regulations aimed at reducing the current level of nicotine in vapour products. If adopted, this regulatory proposal will severely hinder the federal government’s ability to reach its stated objective of reducing the smoking rate in Canada to less than five percent by 2035.
“Health Canada recognizes the concept of offering reduced risk products as a way to reduce exposure to the harmful chemicals caused by smoking. In addition, it recognizes vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking,” said Eric Gagnon, Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada. “It is unfortunate that the government is considering a measure that will hinder vaping products from reaching their full potential as a less harmful alternative to smoking.”
The proposed regulations would ban the sale of vapour products that contain nicotine levels greater than 20 mg/ml. These regulations use the European Union as a benchmark. What the regulations do not account for is the fact that the Canadian vapour and cigarette market is very different from the EU market. Canadian cigarettes have a higher nicotine level than European cigarettes. Canadian smokers, therefore, have different expectations and taste preferences. Capping nicotine levels at 20 mg/ml will mean that smokers will not be able to find a product that satisfies them, and many former smokers who now vape will go back to smoking.
In fact, the government clearly acknowledges this in its regulations when it states, “it is anticipated that the vaping industry would experience the loss of sales to adult customers who choose to discontinue using vaping products rather than transition to vaping products that contain 20 mg/mL nicotine or below.”
“It could be debated whether or not the current cap of 66 mg/ml is appropriate. However, the proposed 20 mg/ml is too low and will not satisfy a portion of current Canadian Vapers nor smokers seeking a less harmful alternative,” said Mr. Gagnon. “It is hard to understand why the government would enact a policy measure knowing full well it will drive up the number of smokers in Canada“.
Imperial Tobacco Canada strongly agrees with the government’s youth prevention aims. The company has been working with retailers for decades on youth prevention initiatives at retail. The only way to curb youth consumption of any product is to ensure they do not gain access. There are already laws in place that make it illegal for anyone to sell a vapour product to a child.
“Kids should not vape, period. To protect youth, the discussion should not be about nicotine levels but rather how kids are gaining access to adult restricted products,” continued Mr. Gagnon. “Anyone who sells a vapour product to minors should be harshly penalized, it is truly as simple as that.”
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada