EDMONTON, July 10, 2019 /CNW/ - Last week the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) spoke to media about its partnership with the University of Alberta's Faculty of Nursing and their plan to tackle youth vaping. While everyone agrees that youth shouldn't vape, the EPS' approach to keep vaping products out of the hands of youth by taking vaping products off the shelves altogether is being met with resistance by those concerned with the impact that smoking has on public health.
"The EPS plan is a gross over compensation that will have dire consequences for adult vapers who rely on these products as a harm reduction tool to remain smoke free," said Dr. Chris LaLonde, a professor at University of Victoria and spokesperson for Rights4Vapers. "Prohibiting the sale of flavoured vaping products will limit accessibility of these products to adult smokers who may be want or use them as a way to quit smoking, consequently driving them to the illicit market."
Shortly after publicly sharing its position on vaping products, the EPS began to visit retailers of vapour products and demand that owners sign a contract that would force them to no longer sell flavoured vaping products. The legal justification for their action, which is not rooted in provincial or federal legislation, rests on a classification of vaping products as tobacco products that subjects flavoured vaping products to the same bans on display, promotion and sale as flavoured tobacco products.
In 2013 the Alberta Government passed amendments to Bill 33 which would have placed all nicotine products into the same category, but these were not proclaimed into force. The government's decision to hold back on this legislation is suggestive of its more progressive understanding of vaping - being that vaping products are less harmful way to consume nicotine and hold significant potential for smoking cessation and/or tobacco reduction.
And although provincial law does not directly address vaping, federal law does. In May 2018, the federal government passed vaping regulations which clearly distinguish between vaping and smoking on the basis of their different health-related risk profiles.
"Not only should the EPS action be challenged on the basis that it is a questionable interpretation of the law but also because it would have the immediate and detrimental effect of making it more difficult to get access to these products for adult vapers in Edmonton who rely on them to quit smoking," said Dr. LaLonde.
In April 2019, Rights4Vapers issued a survey to adult vapers across Canada. With nearly 2,200 respondents, the results clearly demonstrated that adults rely on a multiple flavours and nicotine strengths when they began vaping and move between different flavours as they quit smoking or drastically reduced their smoking prevalence. These findings echo that of the American and European adults' experience with vaping as well as Health Canada's own Canadian, Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey which highlights the importance of flavours to the appeal of vaping products for Canadian adult smokers.
While the EPS has the right intention, it is clear that they have overlooked the adult smoking population in their efforts to protect youth. In doing so they are jeopardizing the progress that thousands of adult vapers have made to quit smoking. Given the drastic health implications of tobacco use, serious consideration should also be given to them.
About Rights 4 Vapers
Rights 4 Vapers is an organization of vaping advocates dedicated to the advancement of Canadian-based research on vaping. Dr.Chris Lalonde is an academic advisor.
SOURCE Rights 4 Vapers
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