Trudeau’s Illiberal War on Vape

Posted 7th December 2016 by Dave Cross
The Canadian government claims it is committed to protecting its citizens from the dangers of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. In order to do this it is set to implement wide-ranging regulation that will limit access to products and make them less attractive as an alternative to smoking.

This isn’t how they see it, Trudeau’s administration believe that the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act will simply render the vape products less available to teenagers. Jane Philpott, the
Minister of Health, said: “The introduction of this important legislation is the next step in the Government's work to protect young Canadians from nicotine addiction and tobacco use. At the same time, it introduces an approach to vaping products that considers their potential benefits to smokers. I look forward to seeing this Bill through the legislative process.”

It bases its justification on studies like the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, that revealed the shocking result that “26% of Canadian youth aged 15-19 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette, up from 20% in 2013”. Of course, this isn’t quite so shocking when one remembers that ever trying something does not equate to being a regular user. Nor does ever trying something demonstrate a gateway into tobacco use.

The bill includes the potential to implement plain packaging for vape products, adopt unspecified age restrictions, place restriction on how ecigs can be advertised or promoted, and place a ban on certain flavours. Jane Philpott is appears in the above video saying flavour bans could include: “bubble-gum and cotton candy, that have been used to target children.”

Michael Khoury, a doctor in Edmonton, is delighted by the news and goes as far to call it “very balanced”. Raising one of the unproven token objections, he said: “It’s important to have these devices accessible to the people where it might serve a public health good, but also restrict the advertisement and sale of the devices to people that it may serve as a gateway toward cigarette use.”

Of course Khoury would say that, he previously authored a study claiming to discover that vaping renormalised smoking (it doesn’t) and that companies were targeting children (they aren’t). It also claimed the biggest problem was that kids though vaping was “cool”.

Canadian Vaping Association’s Sam Tam surprisingly responded: “We’ve mentioned a lot about vaping as a harm-reduction alternative over cigarettes. We’re really pleased that we’re getting that recognition. The science is catching up with the proof that vaping is less harmful than smoking.”

The CVA’s announcement sounds like turkey voting for Christmas given the breadth of the Health Minister’s proposals. Maybe they do not object to a number of their members being barred from selling products simply because flavours like Coca Cola are deemed to childish for adults to use.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker