TORONTO, July 4, 2018 /CNW/ - Vapor Advocates of Ontario (VAO) would like to take this opportunity to thank the provincial government for pausing the changes to the Smoke Free Ontario Act 2017 that pertain to vaping to allow for stakeholders to provide input.
We recently received notice that the regulations due to come into effect on July 1, 2018 were put on hold so that government could carefully review the regulations. According to emails received by vaping industry stakeholders, "…the government plans to work with the public, experts and businesses to re-examine the evidence related to vaping as a smoking cessation tool to ensure that any changes are in the best interests of everyone and protect Ontarians' health and safety."
"We're excited that the government lead by Premier Doug Ford and new Health Minister Christine Elliott have recognized our efforts and have paused the implementation of these regulations. We have the utmost confidence that they are going to look at the regulations based on science and not guesswork," said Maria Papaioannoy-Duic, spokesman for the VAO.
Ontario has the opportunity to be seen as a leader in the understanding of this technology world-wide by creating regulations that are the perfect balance of protecting our youth and extending the lives of adult smokers.
"The provincial regulations need to align with Health Canada's stance on vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking to ensure the industry is clear on the legal expectations from both levels of government," said CVA President Shaun Casey. "Our goal is to work with the Ontario government in the same fashion as we continue to do with Health Canada and the federal government. We are working towards a framework of regulations that keep vapour products accessible to adult smokers looking to support harm reduction through specialty shops where they can safely sample products and receive training on their devices from experts in an adult-only environment."
Regulations need to be based on science and research which has been ongoing around the world for the last 10 years. Public Health England, for example, has proven that vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking. Canada is now catching up with the recent stance taken by Health Canada. Ontario needs to recognize this research and take it into account when designing regulations that will have a major impact on the industry.
"We are optimistic that Ontario's government will give us a chance to contribute to the development of new regulations that will benefit all stakeholders. Vaping should not be regulated like tobacco and we are thankful that they recognize the Smoke Free Ontario Act 2017 needs to be re-evaluated," said ECTA President Daniel David.
There are approximately 900,000 vapers in Ontario and thousands more employed by the industry either in vape shops, distribution companies or e-liquid manufacturers. As the number of vapers in this province rises, the number of smokers declines which means a healthier population, fewer number of people who are exposed to the toxic chemicals found in combustible tobacco products and reduces the burden on the health system which addresses Ontario's number one cause of preventable death.