Over 45,000 people die in Canada from diseases resulting from tobacco use each year. Despite smokers switching to vaping causing a dramatic drop in smoking rates, the council says: “We recommend that Canadians needing support with nicotine addiction speak to a health care provider and seek out proven cessation therapies, such as medication or approved nicotine replacement therapies.”
Moreover, rather than simply not accepting that vaping is working for millions of ex-smokers, the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health says, “[we] remain significantly concerned” about a fabricated teen vaping epidemic.
The council has provided a set of “regulatory and policy recommendations that we believe are necessary to be taken by federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments to address this rapidly emerging public health threat. We acknowledge that governments have already taken steps to implement some of these recommendations.”
Selectively resourcing research, it adds: “These recommendations are made in the context of the emerging evidence of the short and long-term harms associated with the use of vaping products.”
“We recognise that evidence is still emerging on the effectiveness of nicotine vaping products to help smokers decrease or stop their use of all nicotine-containing products. It is important that the regulatory and policy approaches for vaping products be reviewed as the evidence of health risks and benefits evolve. For example, if it becomes clear that vaping products are effective in helping people stop or reduce their use of all nicotine-containing products, then it may then be appropriate to approve, license and regulate vaping products in the same way as other tobacco cessation products.”
Maybe the council should refer itself to the work of Etter or West – of which the latter said: “We found those using ecigarettes were about 60% more likely to still be not smoking” [link]. In fact, the council has chosen to totally ignore the findings of the Hajek study, “A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy” [link].
Instead, the council recommends Canada bans “all flavoured vaping products”, regulates “a minimum set of flavours to support smokers” and places a limit on “the nicotine content in vaping products, including pods, to a maximum of 20mg/ml”.
It also wants to limit the performance of mods and regulate power delivery and the use of nicotine salts. It wants to see punitive sin taxes applied to vaping products, limit use to over-21s, and carry out enhanced “surveillance and reporting of vaping product use”.