Gélinas’ bill on vaping misses the point | Opinion

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Nickel Belt MPP’s Vaping Is Not For Kids bill will only make it harder for smokers to transition to vaping and finally quit tobacco, while doing little to keep them out of the hands of children

Recently, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas tabled a bill that outlined a series of ill-conceived regulatory proposals that target vapour products.

Her bill is titled Vaping is not for Kids. We agree on the title of her bill, vaping is not for kids. But this is where our agreement ends.

She details measures that would give unprecedented powers to regional health boards, that would increase taxes on vapour products, that would ban flavoured vapour products, and that would ban all forms of advertising and promotion.

These combined measures will force vapers back to smoking.

This bill sets out these proposals under the guise of saving children from vaping. A noble goal, but one that completely ignores the science and reality of vaping for adults. There are over a million adult vapers in Canada. The vast majority of these people used to be smokers.

Gélinas has had opportunities to hear the real-life stories of her constituents, the very people who rely on flavoured vaping products to stay smoke free. Yet, there is no mention or concern for those that rely on vaping in her bill. It’s as if she dismissed their stories and decided that their quality of life has lesser value.

This from a party that in October of this past year, extolled the virtues of harm reduction. In the lead up to the next provincial election, the NDP criticized the Conservatives for not implementing measures to reduce the harm of opioid use in Ontario. The NDP hailed safe injection sites and safe supply.

Why can’t the NDP use the same lens for smoking and vaping?

We must stop systemically excluding the voices and needs of those addicted to combustible tobacco, especially from a party, that stresses the motto “people over profit.” We need them to walk their talk.

In England, where vaping is an accepted smoking cessation tool and the harm reduction potential is understood, “the evidence suggests that e-cigarettes have contributed tens of thousands of additional quitters in England.”

We need to introduce legislation that makes these lifesaving products easier for adult smokers and vapers to access, while ensuring that those supplying vaping products to teens are charged under the full extent of the law. Vapour products are already extremely regulated in Canada. There are laws on the books that restrict the sale of vapour products to minors — so let’s enforce them.

Vaping products are lifesaving. There is no doubt. They are 95-per-cent less harmful than traditional cigarettes and they do help smokers quit. These are good things to celebrate, especially considering 48,000 Canadians died from smoking related illnesses last year.

Zero died from vaping.

How many lives were saved from vaping last year? Even if it was one Ontarian, keeping vapour products available is worth it.

Read full article here.

Maria Papaioannoy – Sudbury.com – 2022-03-04.

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