Government of Canada Proposes Making Reduced Risk Products Less Effective During National Non-Smoking Week

OTTAWA, January 20th, 2021 – Vaping products have been widely recognized by regulators and leading health organizations as a significantly less harmful nicotine alternative than cigarettes. Despite this, during National Non-Smoking Week, the Government of Canada is considering reducing the maximum nicotine strength in vaping products by almost 70%. VITA strongly believes that in order for a larger number of adult smokers to switch, vaping products must deliver nicotine at a level that is sufficiently satisfying.

“Vaping has helped hundreds of thousands of adult Canadian smokers reduce their risk when they can’t or won’t quit using other methods”, said Daniel David, VITA President. “It’s very concerning that the government would propose making vaping products less effective as a harm reduction tool, especially at a time when cigarette sales are increasing nationally”, added David.

Canada’s maximum nicotine limits were established based on the best available science in 2018.  Since that time, the vaping sector has brought a range of products to market that are designed to support adult-smokers transition to a consumption method, that while not-harm free, “are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products” according to the U.K. Royal College of Physicians.

Should the new and upcoming proposed restrictions be implemented, most of the currently available vaping products would have to be removed from the marketplace, which VITA anticipates could have the unintended effect of incentivizing adult smokers to stay with cigarettes or even return to them after transitioning, as well as lead to increased cigarette sales and significant economic harm to our economy.

“Nova Scotia, which implemented a nicotine cap and flavour ban in April of 2020, saw a significant increase in legal cigarette sales immediately following the introduction of the new rules”, said Allan Rewak, VITA Executive Director. “Moreover, half of the regulated, adult-only vape shops closed within weeks of implementation, costing the province hundreds of jobs. Should Canada follow this example, the negative results would be magnified exponentially”, added Rewak.

VITA believes that adult smokers need continued access to a range of nicotine strengths to support their journey away from combustible tobacco. To empower vapers and to support the industry in engaging in the discussion around proposed new nicotine levels, the association has created the website, to support democratic participation in the ongoing consultation.

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