Ontario has recently released its monitoring and evaluation document, where it measures how the latest policy measures have impacted upon sale and supply to the region’s youth. In it they discovered that 10% of vendors are still prepared to sell to underage test shoppers.
The obverse of that figure is a huge buy-in to compliance, probably resulting from the willingness of tobacco enforcement departments to spend money on education officers visiting stores. In particular, they have identified non-specialist convenience stores as being the most in need of assistance.
On manager is quoted as saying: “Compliance starts to slip and I would suggest to you it's because...it's just that one product in a whole catalogue of things they have available...I would say that in many cases owners and particularly clerks have no idea what they're vending. They really don't even know what they are and so despite our best efforts to educate them...they're clueless as to what they are and they will often ask us, ‘Well, what is an electronic cigarette?’”
But how can businesses operate when, apart from sales to underage customers, nobody is quite certain where the legal line is drawn?
Ms Sinnis, a founder of the Canadian Vaping Association, said: “We’ve been asking for regulation since 2009. Everybody agrees that this should not be marketed to minors, whether in your labels or in your public advertising. It should be done in a professional manner that promotes the product as a tobacco harm-reduction. We have a product that is magnitudes safer and less harmful than tobacco.”
The Toronto Patriots have removed any reference to the vape company, and some other businesses are receiving cease and desist letters in response to their advertising. There is an increasing demand for clarity in the current legislation. The trouble is that the politicians have conflicting (and in some cases downright corrupt) research upon which to base their decisions.
For example, a very recent study set out to bring together the current understanding on the subject of electronic cigarettes, in particular the physiological health effects.
The team performed a search of the major databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, JSTOR, SpringerLink, and ScienceDirect) hunting for relevant papers by using keywords. They came up with 2,100 results, but narrowed it down to 175 that concerned themselves primarily with health effects of vaping. But, like the old computer science acronym GIGO, the mass of poor quality published studies means that any conclusion will be tainted.
So it has proved to be, as the team discovered Li-ion cells that are “prone to leak or to cause fires or explosions”, coils that “are capable of emitting metallic particles such as tin, iron, lead, chromium, manganese, nickel, and cadmium”, and “oxidants which could also contribute to inflammation in the lungs”.
In fact, even though they briefly mention that “some recent research even suggests some beneficial effects”, they dredged up every shoddy result and product of derided methodology. If businesses and vapers would like clarity, it isn’t going to come from the likes of Alyssa Zucchet and Grégory Schmaltz.