In response to increasing popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping, the Federal Government of Canada announces the introduction of amendments to the Tobacco Act “to create a new legislative framework for regulating these products”. The re-orientation of the Tobacco Control Strategy is expected in fall 2016.
With this new framework, Jane Philpott, the Minister of Health wants to “balance the need to protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use while allowing adult smokers to legally access vaping products for smoking cessation or as a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco”.
Is one year sufficient to address vaping in the Federal regulation?
One-year extension of the current plan will allow, according to the Ministry, sufficient time to develop a new and effective long-term strategy that will start with propositions:
- ban on menthol cigarettes,
- plain and standardized packaging requirements on all tobacco products.
Health Canada announced they aim at involving all stakeholders, Indigenous partners, provinces and territories. A national forum will be held in early 2017, to discuss the future of tobacco control and hear from a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians, including First Nations and Inuit Canadians.
Whether for or against vaping, a strong message was expected from the Federal Government as provincial governments were under pressure to regulate vaping products. Here, with a clear statement in favor of the e-cigarette for smoking cessation, the federal government seems to align with England, whose reduction of smoking rates has reached its lowest level in 2015. A similar image is displayed by Health Canada with a free-fall in smoking prevalence over the last 50 years in the country.
However, the clock is ticking and the government foresees 87,000 Canadians to become daily smokers in 2016, many of them youth. Aboriginal communities are also concerned by smoking with smoking prevalence much higher than the national average.
One additional year is probably not enough to fully engage in the direction of harm reduction with e-cigarettes since some Provinces have already taken strong actions against vaping. Strong actions that have also aroused strong reactions from the public and professionals. But the positive attitude with vaping gives a piece of hope for the Canadian vaping sector as the US neighbour is bogged down with their deeming rules.
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