MONTRÉAL, May 31, 2017 Provincial anti-tobacco coalitions and other national organizations representing doctors and the public health community are calling on the federal government to amend Bill S-5 in a full page ad in today's Hill Times.
In addition to expanding the regulatory authority regarding controls on tobacco packaging and products, Bill S-5 will shift the illegal nicotine vaping market into a legal and regulated one. "We fully support the legalization and regulation of vaping products like e-cigarettes, as it will allow smokers to access alternative and less dangerous sources of nicotine," says Flory Doucas, spokesperson of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, emphasizing the unanimous support for Bill S-5 expressed by both provincial and national health partners.
However, "the Bill is seriously flawed in that its advertising provisions are too permissive. While targeted advertising should be allowed to reach smokers, the Bill fails to protect young people from being exposed to advertisements that promote a product that can result in one of the most powerful addictions in the world," adds Ian Culbert, Executive Director of the Canadian Public Health Association.
Indeed, the bill allows advertising in all available media outlets without limits on the place nor the vehicle as well as "lifestyle" promotion targeting adult non-smokers that presents nicotine vaping as a desirable practice in and of itself — not as a tobacco substitute. (To see examples of ads that would be allowed, see this backgrounder.)
The following health groups are calling on parliamentarians to consider an amendment to tighten restrictions on the promotion of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products, while ensuring Bill S-5 is adopted before the summer recess:
The proposed amendment would only allow "information" or "brand-preference" advertising to adults (i.e. in places that are not accessible to minors, or through in direct communication to adults). This way, young people will never be exposed to e-cig advertisements and, at worst, non-smoking adults will only be exposed to "information" or "brand-preference" advertising and not "lifestyle" advertising.
"Bill S-5 raises critical issues related to public health and the public's interest, including the ability of for-profit companies to sell and promote nicotine — one of the most addictive substances known. Nicotine dependence is at the core of an epidemic that kills 37,000 Canadians every year. Canadians are entitled to ask for improvements that will minimize the risks of nicotine addiction for all Canadians and their families. We hope Parliamentarians will choose to protect the public by further improving Bill S-5, while ensuring it adoption before the summer recess," concludes Les Hagen, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health.
To read this release in PDF, including a backgrounder, click here:
SOURCE Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac
For further information: Flory Doucas, Co-director & Spokesperson, Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, cell: 514-515-6780; Les Hagen, Executive Director, Action on Smoking and Health, 780-919-5546; Ian Culbert, Executive Director, Canadian Public Health Association, please contact Emma Mallach, 613-725-3769 ext. 160