Thursday, July 7

The Canadian Vaping Association: THR should play a role in Canada’s Tobacco Endgame strategy


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BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, June 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canada has set an ambitious goal to reduce smoking prevalence to less than 5% by 2035. However, it now seems unlikely that Canada will achieve this, with some calling the plan “incremental, erratic and reactive tobacco control.” It is clear that traditional tobacco control measures, resulting in modest declines, will not be enough to reach this target.

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) products have shown considerable results in reducing smoking prevalence. “We have known the risks from smoking for many decades. We have known that it is the smoke, not the nicotine that is responsible. We also know that we can deliver nicotine in ways that have minimal risk,” said Professor David Sweanor, the Chair of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa.

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“As a result, Sweden’s rates of tobacco-related illness and death are by far the lowest that you can see in the European Union. Their smoking rates are now low enough that many people would call it a smoke-free society. When Norway allowed snus products to be more widely available, cigarette smoking fell by half in just 10 years. When Iceland allowed both vaping products and snus into the market, smoking fell by about 40 per cent in just three years,” he said.

The stated purpose of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) is to protect youth and non‐smokers from inducements to tobacco and vaping products and ensure Canadians are properly informed about the associated risks. The 2018 amendments “…sought to regulate vaping products in a way that underscored that these products were harmful for youth and non‐users of tobacco products. At the same time, it recognized emerging evidence indicating that, while not harmless, vaping products were a less harmful source of nicotine for an individual who smokes and quits smoking completely.”

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Although the TVPA has created a strong framework to protect youth and non-smokers, outside of an acknowledgement of vaping’s reduced risk, the Act has prevented smokers from receiving accurate information on vaping. In recent years regulation has been reactive and contrary to Health Canada’s acknowledgement of vaping’s reduced risk profile. Increasingly restrictive regulation has played a considerable role in reinforcing the public’s misperceptions about vaping. 48,000 Canadians continue to die each year from smoking‐related illness, while health authorities send mixed messages to smokers and allow vaping myths to persist.

“Canada is unlikely to achieve its target without a realized plan that adopts modern approaches. The health of Canadians is best served through the implementation of THR strategies, evidenced by vaping’s impact on smoking rates. The results from traditional tobacco control policy were relatively stagnant for years prior to mainstream adoption of
nicotine vaping. Cigarette sales declined slowly between 2011 and 2018 and then rapidly in 2019 which was vaping’s peak adoption period,” said Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board.

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New Zealand faces similar challenges in eradicating tobacco use, including increased smoking prevalence among Indigenous people. New Zealand has sent a clear message to smokers that vaping is less harmful than smoking and permits flavoured vape products. A multi-faceted and modern approach to reducing tobacco use has allowed New Zealand to remain on track to become smoke-free by 2025.

Canada must cease reactionary amendments to the TVPA and embrace modern solutions for Canada to achieve a smoke-free society by 2035.

Darryl Tempest
Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board
[email protected]
647-274-1867

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