In January, the Ontario government, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne, opened a public consultation on proposed regulations covering Bill 174, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017. However, on April 23, the Liberals announced that the draft regulations would be implemented without any amendments.
Those working within the industry warn that a regulation banning the use of e-cigarettes within specialty vape shops — which, under the law, will only be accessible to adults over 19 years of age — will make it impossible for them to show customers, who are looking to reduce the harms caused by smoking, how to use the devices, and prevent people from testing the products in-store.
As a result, many smokers will be discouraged from switching to e-cigarettes, which the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K. says is 95 per cent safer for one's health than smoking. This will have a detrimental effect on public health and harm the many small businesses that sell and manufacture e-cigarettes and related products in Ontario.
CVA president Shaun Casey said that the regulation demonstrates a lack of understanding of how much education and training it takes to transition people from smoking to vaping.
"This regulation will make the transition for adult smokers almost impossible, leading to fewer people finding and trying vaping, thereby reducing access for adult smokers and ultimately shutting down the industry and turning it over to less-effective Big Tobacco products to again dominate this space," he said.
Officials with the CVA say that while they understand the government's knee-jerk reaction to lump vaping in with existing indoor smoking bans, such a policy is not based on the latest scientific evidence. They point to a growing body of research showing that the second-hand vapour produced by e-cigarettes does not pose a risk to bystanders.
For example, Public Health England's "latest evidence review found that to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders," according to the U.K. government's website.
Likewise, a 2017 study from the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, a Canadian non-profit, shows that e-cigarette vapour dissipates after 30 seconds, whereas cigarette smoke lingers for upwards of 20 minutes. It concluded that, "Studies on e-cigarette vapour typically demonstrate very low toxicity, and no study to date has directly correlated exposure with long-term adverse health outcomes for bystanders."
A 2017 literature review conducted by researchers at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC at the University of Victoria also found that second-hand vapour is "far less toxic than cigarette smoke, often by several orders of magnitude," as it does not contain any "carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds." They concluded that there is no evidence that second-hand vapour "poses significant second-hand health risks."
With an election looming, the CVA is calling on all parties to stand up for public health and small businesses in the province of Ontario by committing to allow adults to test and sample e-cigarettes within vape shops.
"The CVA and its membership are deeply committed to working with all three levels of government on fair and balanced legislation and regulations that are in the best interests of Canadians," said CVA executive director Darryl Tempest. "But we have serious concerns about the potential negative impacts that this regulation will have on both the vaping industry and on adult smokers in Ontario who seek a less harmful alternative."
The CVA (canadianvapingassociation.org) is a registered national not-for-profit organization, established as the voice of Canada's burgeoning vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents e-cigarette retailers and manufacturers throughout the country.
SOURCE The Canadian Vaping Association
For further information: Darryl Tempest, Executive Director, Phone: 647-274-1867, Email: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org