The Calgary Herald has published an op-ed, “Let’s prevent another public health disaster in Alberta by protecting youth from vaping products,” submitted by a group of health advocates and medical professionals.
The op-ed urges the Government of Alberta to ban flavoured vapour products, ban retail advertising outside of specialty vape shops, require stores to be licensed, and tax vaping products. The Canadian Vaping Association is aligned on many of these points and agrees there is a need to protect youth, however banning flavours and taxing vapour products will have unintended consequences.
The CVA would like to clarify once again the misconception surrounding advertising and enforcement. Advertising does not require further restriction as it is already federally prohibited to advertise outside of age restricted spaces. What is required is consistent enforcement of the existing laws. Alberta vape shops are also federally regulated and are inspected by federal Tobacco Enforcement Officers. The CVA supports the addition of provincial inspections in combination with the existing federal regulation but would like to make it clear that Alberta vape shops are already operating with government oversight.
The idea that flavoured vaping products contribute to youth vaping is a common misconception that has been discredited by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC report “Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and Highschool Students”, only 22.3 percent of young people indicated that they vape “because e-cigarettes are available in flavours, such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate.” The most common reason for use among youth was, “I was curious about them.”
After intense criticism that flavours were attracting youth, Juul voluntarily removed flavours from the United States, leaving only tobacco, mint and menthol flavours available. A study by the American Cancer Society published in the American Journal of Public Health has proven that flavours do not impact youth vaping rates. After removing flavours, youth did not quit vaping but instead switched to tobacco, mint or menthol vape products.
Darryl Tempest, CVA – Stockhouse, Globe Newswire – May 28, 2020.