TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2019 /CNW/ - The Government of Alberta can lead Canada by striking a bold regulatory balance on vaping, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH) told a provincial committee reviewing Alberta's Tobacco Smoking Reduction Act today.
The Province of Alberta is conducting a review of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act to make legislative and regulatory amendments and invited RBH to provide recommendations to the committee overseeing the review of the Act.
RBH sees this as an opportunity for Alberta to lead the country by introducing legislation with measures other provinces have not yet adopted that will protect youth from the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction, while providing avenues to support vaping and other smoke-free alternatives as harm-reduction alternatives for current adult smokers.
Smoke-free technologies are better alternatives to cigarettes and should play a more critical role in tobacco and nicotine control policy to reduce harm for existing adult smokers. Smoke-free technologies are not risk-free and are addictive but a growing body of scientific research around the world shows they can be less harmful for current adult smokers who switch away from cigarettes. New technologies such as these can accelerate the transition away from smoking and bring an end to cigarettes in Canada.
This is why today RBH recommended the Government of Alberta implement a regulatory balance, one that gives current adult smokers reasonable access to effective smoke-free technologies, such as vaping, that can significantly reduce harmful emissions, while strongly limiting the appeal and access of these products to youth.
RBH's recommendations to the committee today included:
- agreeing to define vaping products;
- putting limits on flavours that appeal to youth;
- imposing limitations on advertising and promotion;
- exploring raising the age of purchase;
- requiring licensing for all sellers of vaping products;
- creating and supporting dedicated spaces for adult smokers to learn about alternatives;
- implementing regulations for online sale and delivery;
- putting a ban on open-tank systems;
- taxing vaping products responsibly;
- encouraging harm reduction approaches and allow existing adult smokers to learn about, and consider, switching to alternatives if they are not ready to quit.
In its five-point action plan – "Unsmoke: Ideas for a Smoke-Free Canada" – RBH called for decisive action in terms of the safety, standards, appeal and access of smoke-free technologies, such as vaping or heating tobacco, to the various levels of government in Canada.
Regulatory restrictions are contributing to low awareness among Canadians about the health risks of cigarettes relative to smoke-free alternatives, such as vaping or heating tobacco.
That is why Canada needs brave new ideas for a smoke-free future.
Quotes from Peter Luongo, managing director of RBH:
- New technology can reduce harmful emissions from tobacco and nicotine – and should be a part of Alberta's new bold approach to regulation.
- At the same time Alberta can introduce some first-in Canada measurements to protect youth.
- Government has a unique opportunity to help adult smokers learn about better, smoke-free alternatives, while vigorously protecting youth from nicotine addiction. Alberta can take a bold approach to support vaping as a harm-reduction alternative for current adult smokers.
- We fully support sensible regulations – regulations that give current adult smokers reasonable access to effective smoke-free products, while limiting features of these products that appeal to youth.
- The best choice for any Canadians is to never start smoking or using nicotine or to quit entirely.
- We want to "Unsmoke" Canada. Our message is simple: if you don't smoke, don't start.
If you smoke, quit. If you don't quit, change.
- Governments should recognize that smoke-free technologies, such as vaping or heating, offer adults who don't quit smoking a better alternative to cigarettes.
- Scientific evidence shows that these products are not the same as cigarettes – and governments should not treat them the same as cigarettes.
- The debate in Canada should be about how to make smoke-free technologies more safely and smartly available for current adult smokers – and out of the hands of youth.
About Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., an affiliate of Philip Morris International Inc., is one of Canada's leading tobacco companies and employs nearly 800 people across the country with its headquarters in Toronto and a factory in Québec City. RBH is a certified Top Employer 2019 in Canada for excellence in employee conditions. For more information please visit rbhinc.ca and unsmoke.ca.
SOURCE Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.