Canada’s Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) was amended in 2018, to recognize vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, yet also to include measures to protect youth from the products through various labeling and promotion restrictions.

The Act is scheduled to begin its mandated parliamentary review shortly, to which effect Health Canada (HC) opened a public consultation until April 27, 2022. A Discussion Paper by Health Canada encourages adult smokers to switch to the safer alternatives. “For adults who smoke, there appears to be a lack of awareness that vaping products are a less harmful source of nicotine for those who currently smoke and switch completely to vaping. A 2020 survey found that only 22 percent of current smokers recognized that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.”

Despite this message, HC’s actions are sending confusing messages about the process. In September 2021, HC had already opened a consultation on proposals to further restrict flavoured vaping products. The responses to that consultation are supposedly still being processed with no report published, while the new consultation was launched asking questions in a way that indicates that the process was being started from the beginning.

Inside Sources revealed that the consultation contains no legislative proposals-related questions, and just contains a set of 22 vague questions. “The only defining feature of this latest process is its obvious bias against harm reduction,” reads the article. “Solely focusing on unproven downsides of vaping, the headline discussion points of HC’s questions speak of “protect(ing)” young people, of “restricting access,” of the public being “deceived” and “misled,” and of “health hazards.” This type of wording leads to misinformation and has a disastrous effect on smokers trying to quit.”

Canada’s war on vaping

Meanwhile, a recent episode on RegulatorWatch discussed the fact that the public health sector in Canada insists on tougher vape regulations, despite the declining youth vaping rates.

The episode hosted Dr. Chris Lalonde, Professor of Psychology at the University of Victoria, and a harm reduction advocate. In line with arguments by other concerned tobacco control entities, the episode discussed the fact that despite the plummeting youth vaping rates across North America, local authorities keep striving to set in place regulations with the aim of decreasing teen vaping. These regulations would be detrimental to smoking adults, who use the products with the aim of quitting smoking.

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.