Summary of recent developments:
- Several confirmed cases of vaping-related illness in Quebec
- Government announced they expect to introduce new vaping regulations in spring 2020
- Regulations are likely to focus on accessibility, flavoured products and nicotine levels
Québec proceeded with a review of its Tobacco Control Act in 2015, paving the way for the inclusion of vaping products. The current framework prohibits:
- Vaping indoors in public spaces: at work, in hospitals, in schools, colleges and universities, in daycares, bars and restaurants, sports centres, public buses and theatres.
- Vaping outdoors at play areas for children (water games, wading pool, skateparks), sports ground (baseball fields, outdoor rinks or outdoor pools).
Québec’s Associate Health Minister, Dr. Lionel Carmant, is a renowned pediatrician, who is Premier Legault’ s go-to-person for issues related to child welfare. He yields tremendous influence within Cabinet and is known for harsh, sometimes out-of-touch, measures. One must look at his willingness to raise the minimum age for marijuana consumption to 21, which would make Quebec one of the strictest jurisdictions in all of Canada. He has personally monitored the vaping file and even stated, “The need to really avoid or delay as much as possible the first consumption of nicotine and other substances”. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities to see Quebec raise the minimum age of consumption of vaping products.
The province’s first vaping related illness was made public on September 27, and by November there were three confirmed cases. Shortly after in November 2019, Health Minister Danielle McCann announced that the government will put new vaping regulations in place in spring 2020. In the meantime, he encouraged youth, pregnant women and non-smokers to refrain from vaping.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s top public health officer has been tasked with leading the group preparing the new regulations. The committee will focus on flavoured products, nicotine levels, and the accessibility of vaping products. It is expected that the group will submit its recommendations to the Ministry of Health by April 2020.
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