On February 5, 2019, Health Canada released a consultation paper entitled “Notice of Intent – Potential Measures to Reduce the Impact of Vaping Products Advertising on Youth and Non-users of Tobacco Products” (NOI) to seek feedback on selected regulatory measures under consideration. The NOI included measures to restrict the placement and the content of advertisements and other forms of promotions, such as prohibiting the display of vaping products at retail where youth have access.
A total of 321 submissions were received from a wide variety of respondents. Respondents were categorized under the following groups: general public; academia; associations of health professionals; consumer associations; local and regional health authorities; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); municipalities; provincial and territorial governments; manufacturers; retailer associations; vaping industry associations and vape shop owners.
The majority of the respondents supported restrictions on the promotion of vaping products. NGOs, associations of health professionals, local and regional health authorities, municipalities and the general public called for stricter regulations similar to those for tobacco products.
Comments from persons who formerly smoked described how vaping products helped them quit smoking and improved their health. They commented that Health Canada’s proposed approach reinforces the misconception that vaping products are as harmful as tobacco products.
In a joint submission, all thirteen provincial and territorial governments strongly recommended immediate regulatory measures to reduce youth uptake of vaping products. They suggested that all forms of vaping advertising and promotion restrictions should align with those in place for tobacco products.
Responses from the vaping industry were divergent. Vape shop owners and vaping industry associations supported the proposed restrictions on advertising and on the display of vaping products at points of sale where youth have access. Retailer associations and larger manufacturers (multinational manufacturers that manufacture both tobacco and vaping products), were against these proposals. In general, the vape shop owners, vaping industry associations and vaping manufacturers were supportive of the proposed restrictions on the placement of advertisements in public places, broadcast media and in publications.
With regard to the regulatory measures under consideration concerning the content of advertising, most respondents were supportive of measures that would require advertisements to carry a health warning about nicotine addiction. However, industry respondents did not support the other proposed health warning about the chemicals released by vaping products.
Academia commented that the measures under consideration should aim to minimize the potential harms to youth while ensuring that these products remain attractive to persons who smoke.
Comments received through this consultation will be carefully considered as Health Canada continues to work on new regulations to restrict the promotion of vaping products.
Health Canada – July 2019.