Ontario Government restricts access to products that could potentially save the lives of thousands of smokers.
February 28, 2020- The Vaping Industry Trade Association (VITA) is disappointed that the Ontario Ministry of Health has proposed regulations that will restrict nicotine levels to 20 mg/mL or less, and limit flavour profiles outside of tobacco and mint to specialty vape shops only. This limits adult access to vapour products and undermines the ability for adult smokers to switch to potentially life-saving alternatives.
If implemented, these regulations will shrink the vapour product offering at convenience stores, the same locations where most adult smokers buy their cigarettes. Multiple studies show the importance of flavour variety for uptake of vaping as a harm reduction tool, and prevention of relapse to smoking (1)(2)(3)(4). There is also academic evidence that higher nicotine concentrations may be required to effectively replace a heavy smoking habit (5)(6).
“Imposing a nicotine ceiling of 20 mg/mL in Canada in the same locations where tobacco products are sold, when there is no equivalent nicotine cap in cigarettes is illogical,” said Daniel David, President and CEO of the Vaping Industry Trade Association. “Adult smokers that make the decision to switch to vaping, will be limited to a product that provides less nicotine than tobacco cigarettes. Those adults who rely on higher concentrations to stay smoke free will be unsatisfied and looking to compensate. The result is that smokers may stay smoking, vapers may go back to smoking or vapers may try to obtain higher nicotine and flavoured products from the illicit market.”
The proposed regulations become more contentious when we consider that not all towns boast specialty vape shops-but most have convenience stores. In fact, there are 8600 convenience stores and less than 400 vape shops in Ontario. These regulations will create a discrepancy between who may or may not have access to a potentially life-saving harm reduction product. In a recent report, the Canadian Constitution Foundation questioned the constitutional acceptability of restricting the availability of reduced risk products to Canadian smokers(7).
While VITA supports efforts to protect youth from accessing vaping products and encourages increased enforcement efforts, better education, and new programs, governments must also consider adult smokers who need a full range of alternatives and former smokers who rely on the products to remain smoke free. There are over four million Canadians who are slowly dying of cigarette smoking with a large proportion of them living in Ontario. The regulations being considered would have a major public health impact on those who are currently vaping and the millions of others who are sick of smoking and would consider the switch.
Daniel David, President & CEO
Vaping Industry Trade Association
- Du P, Bascom R, Fan T, Sinharoy A, Yingst J, Mondal P Mondal, Foulds J. Changes in Flavor Preference in a Cohort of Long-term Electronic Cigarette Users. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020 Jan 24. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201906-472OC.
- Buckell J, Marti J, Sindelar JL. Should flavours be banned in cigarettes and e-cigarettes? Evidence on adult smokers and recent quitters from a discrete choice experiment. Tobacco Control 2019;28:168-175.
- Farsalinos et al. Patterns of flavored e-cigarette use among adults vapers in the United States: an internet survey. Submitted to: Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6565 for “Regulation of Flavors in Tobacco Products.”
- Russell, C., McKeganey, N., Dickson, T. et al. Changing patterns of first e-cigarette flavor used and current flavors used by 20,836 adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA. Harm Reduct J 15, 33 (2018) doi:10.1186/s12954-018-0238-6
- Farsalinos, K., Spyrou, A., Tsimopoulou, K. et al. Nicotine absorption from electronic cigarette use: comparison between first and new-generation devices. Sci Rep 4, 4133 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep04133
- Farsalinos, K., Spyrou, A., Stefopoulos, C. et al. Nicotine absorption from electronic cigarette use: comparison between experienced consumers (vapers) and naïve users (smokers). Sci Rep 5, 11269 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11269
- Canadian Vaping Law Overview and Constitutional Issues. Final Report. Dr. Leonid Sirota. Canadian Constitution Foundation. February, 2020.
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