On November 22, 2016, the government of Canada introduced new e-cig regulations called the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act. It is meant to be an amendment to the already enacted Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act. If the new legislation passes, then e-cigs and vaping devices will be regulated separately from convention tobacco products.
Until now, individual provinces in Canada have been allowed to make their own rules regarding the regulation of electronic cigarettes. Two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, lack any vaping laws whatsoever, perhaps hoping that the federal government would eventually step in and implement clear directives nationwide. The newly proposed Tobacco and Vaping Products Act attempts to do just that by including the following protocols:
- A new definition of a “vaping product” will now include all parts associated with the technology as well as the related e-liquid, regardless of the nicotine content.
- New requirements will be put in place regarding childproof packaging.
- Definitive standards for e-vapor emissions will be clearly defined.
- Sales to minors (under the age of 18) will be prohibited.
- Certain provisions will be included regarding youth-oriented advertising.
- Certain flavors known to appeal to Canadian youth, particularly dessert and candy flavors, will be banned.
- Plain packaging requirements like those used in Australia are also proposed. Brand logos, graphics, colors, and fonts are included in the proposed ban.
(Related Article: CANADIAN VAPING ASSOCIATION CALLS QUEBEC BILL 44 UNCONSTITUTIONAL)
The driving force behind the new legislation is data collected from the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey which indicates a 20 percent increase from 2013 in e-cig experimentation among Canadians aged 15 to 19.
"We know that there is some evidence to suggest that the use of vaping products can be used as a harm-reduction tool for people who are current smokers…but at same time, they have [been] shown to be an enticement for young people to take up smoking and become addicted to nicotine."
- Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott
Canada’s three-month consultation period
Yesterday, the Canadian government also announced a three-month consultation period before voting on the proposed plain packaging requirements, which would require a uniform shape, size, color, and font of all e-cig and vaping packaging. The idea is that the removal of pretty colors and graphics will make the technology less appealing to Canadian youth.
Australia is the only nation currently implementing plain packaging regulations, but other nations like France and the UK have already begun passage of similar legislation. The Australian Department of Health firmly believes that the new laws implemented in December of 2012 have been largely responsible for the 0.55 percent decline in smokers recorded in September of 2015.
Understandably, many pro-vaping advocacy groups in Canada strongly disagree, instead attributing the rise in popularity of vaping as a primary cause for the rapid decline in smoking rates nationwide. Either way you slice it, Canada seems to be following Australia’s lead when it comes to new e-cig and vaping regulations. Will the United States be the next to jump on board the plain packaging bandwagon? Only time will tell.