Canadian Government Ignores Evidence

Posted 4th February 2022 by Dave Cross
The Canadian government has published a document titled “Towards a Canadian evidence base to inform action to prevent and control vaping in Canada”. The authors express their worries about teenage vaping, but in doing so they ignore the findings of a recent Montreal-based longitudinal study.

Published on the government’s website, Cynthia Callard, Thierry Gagné, and Jennifer O’Loughlin talk about an “upsurge” in vaping, “rapidly changing technologies, shifting usage patterns and contradictory evidence”.

What is shocking is that the trio admit a wholesale lack of “homegrown evidence”, instead relying on “the experience of and evidence in other countries”. No wonder then that instead of promising so much in the beginning, Canada has veered off course and begun to mirror the evidence-free hysteria from south of the border.

For some reason, they worry about the “mind-boggling diversity of the online e-cigarette market in Canada in terms of nicotine concentration, availability of higher-concentration salt-base nicotine products, and flavours”. Some may wonder if they are reduced to tears when entering a supermarket and seeing the range of products available for sale.

They point to two papers concerned with “vaping initiation and daily use among Canadian youth”, that highlight “ease of access in addition to the constellation of vulnerabilities underpinning substance use in general, as evidenced by the close associations between vaping and other risk-taking behaviours such as cigarette smoking and use of alcohol, energy drinks and marijuana.”

The authors argue there is a “growing number of Canadian publications on youth vaping highlight that some young people are at particularly high risk of initiating and continuing use.


How strange it is that a Montreal longitudinal study shows barely any rise in initiation and use of products over a period of time where the public was undergoing the ravages of Covid-19 and lockdown measures.

The nominal one percentage point increase in use was restricted to those of low education and living alone, 84.0% of electronic cigarette users experienced no change in usage patterns.

Given that the study was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Institutes of Health, it is surprising that no reference has been made to the findings. And, worse, that claims are being made diametrically opposed to this paper’s.

Instead, Callard, Gagné, and O’Loughlin talk about the prospect of pointless plain packaging  and the implementation of nonsensical full bans on vaping flavours. Then they go full Australian and make the call: “The option of limiting ENDS products to a therapeutic supply (for quitting or harm reduction) should be further explored.”

Canadian smokers and ex-smokers deserve so much better than this regressive, evidence-denying nonsense.



 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Vape Green