OTTAWA – On March 25th, 2022, the Northwest Territories announced that it’s ban on the sale of flavoured vaping products will take effect. This ban was intended to better protect the public and youth from vaping as “a significant health hazard… causing acute lung injury”, despite overwhelming evidence that these events were linked to illegal THC products purchased from the illicit market, not legal nicotine vape products.
“Switching from tobacco cigarettes to vaping will reduce your exposure to many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals.” – Health Canada
Vaping is a tobacco harm reduction product for adult smokers, not for non-smokers and never for youth. Surveys and studies show that approximately 85% of adult vape product users rely on flavours that don’t taste like tobacco in their efforts to switch and remain smoke free. Unfortunately, NWT is not alone in banning flavours, and we have seen the consequences in Nova Scotia after they implemented a similar ban in 2020.
To better understand the impact of these measures, VITA commissioned a highly experienced and credible third-party company to conduct an in-depth scan of the illicit market operating in Nova Scotia since their flavour ban was enacted. The findings were clear, prohibition and ineffective enforcement have made the situation far worse, while exposing youth and consumers to unregulated and potentially unsafe products.
“Existing regulations provide all the tools necessary to go after anyone who is selling vaping products to youth, the problem is they’re not being effectively and consistently enforced” said Daniel David, VITA President. “Existing legislation also prohibits the use of potentially harmful ingredients in e-liquid, but as we’ve already seen in other provinces, flavour bans result in new illicit market activity which increases the risk of harm.” added David.
In a population where smoking rates are over 30% VITA is deeply concerned that we will once again see how misguided policy on vape flavours leads to increased smoking rates, and the emergence/growth of a dangerous illicit market that supplies un-regulated vaping products.
It is VITA’s sincere hope that policy makers in NWT will reconsider their approach on this important issue and if or when that happens, VITA will be there to assist in any way we can.
Full illicit market report & video can be found Here
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