NOVA SCOTIA OPENS NEW MARKET FOR UNSAFE ILLEGAL FLAVOURED VAPING PRODUCTS
MONTREAL, Dec. 5, 2019 /CNW/ - Today's announcement of a total flavour ban in vapour products just shows that the Government of Nova Scotia does not understand the role of flavours in vaping products and, as a result, will drive vapers to the illicit market or back to smoking. Worse still, it will do nothing to address the core issue of youth vaping, a concern shared by Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, but one we believe can and should be addressed through enforcement of existing laws.
"Let us be clear: youth should not vape or smoke any of our products. Period. And we support evidence-based measures to achieve that," states Eric Gagnon, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada. "However, today's move to ban flavoured vapour products in Nova Scotia is driven by hysteria, not health."
On the very day that Nova Scotia announced its flavour ban under the guise of youth protection, the US 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey data was also released. The data shows that 77.7% of youth do not cite flavours as the reason for their use of e-cigarettes. Youth state that curiosity and use by family and friends are far more significant driving factors for trying a vapour product than flavours.
"The Government of Nova Scotia is willing to eliminate a proven harm reduction tool because MLAs are listening to scare-tactics and are ignoring the science," said Gagnon. "The adult smokers of Nova Scotia are the collateral damage in an attempt to appease health and special interest groups."
Flavours are a key component in vaping because they facilitate the migration from smoking to vaping. They provide a disassociation from burnt tobacco. The data demonstrates that if a vaping product tastes like a cigarette, there is a slim chance for a smoker to switch. Governments have an obligation to ensure harm-reduced products are available to adult smokers to help them transition, even if this means that tobacco companies are part of the solution.
"Why is the government doing everything they can to make it more difficult for smokers to choose a less risky alternative to cigarettes?" asked Gagnon. "When smoking rates stop decreasing in Nova Scotia, the government will have nobody to blame but themselves. Who would have thought we would come to a point where the government is the main driver of increased cigarette consumption."
The challenge with youth vaping is access. To properly address this part of the problem, it is important to understand how and where Canadian youth are getting their products and to ensure that the laws already in place are enforced.
"Prohibition doesn't work and banning flavors in vaping products will not prevent youth from accessing them if they want," continued Gagnon. "Get ready for a spike in black market flavoured vaping products mixed by people who aren't concerned with product safety, just like what's been happening in the US where black-market products have been the cause of recent lung-related illnesses," said Mr. Gagnon.
In the US, the FDA and the CDC have attributed the cases of acute respiratory illnesses to additives, tampering and black-market products. This is what happens when governments choose short-sighted prohibition over long-term harm reduction.
Finally, alcohol and cannabis are both used in greater numbers by youth than vapour products and come in a vast array of flavours.
"Why is that flavours are deemed appealing for youth when it comes to vapour products, and therefore banning them is the solution, when the government does not take the same approach as a solution to youth use of alcohol and cannabis? Perhaps it is because the government is the exclusive retailer of alcohol and cannabis. The hypocrisy is stunning," concluded Gagnon.
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada
For further information: For more information or interview requests, please contact: Samiha Fariha, Torchia Communications, O: 416-341-9929 ext. 224, C: 647-268-6687, [email protected]; Jean-Nicolas Desjeunes, Torchia Communications, O: 514-288-8290 ext. 260, [email protected]