Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia
September 19, 2019

Protection delayed is protection denied:

Health groups call for immediate federal action to protect young people from the risks of vaping products.

(Ottawa – September 19, 2019). Today representatives from eight leading health organizations appealed for immediate federal action to curb the marketing of vaping products. The group urges all federal political parties to commit to an urgent interim order to put vaping products under the same
type of restrictions that are in place for tobacco products. The group includes Action on Smoking and Health, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Lung Association, Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, Heart & Stroke, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

Given the normal delays that take place during and after an election, the only way to have protective restraints in place this calendar year is if an interim order is made using the powers of the Department of Health Act.(1) The group is concerned that waiting any longer will only increase the risks for Canadians and is therefore calling for party leaders to commit immediately, should they form government, to using an interim order within 60 days of forming government.

Currently the federal law allows promotions for vaping products on television, radio, billboards, public transit hubs, convenience stores, social media, newspapers and other mainstream media. It allows manufacturers to entice youth and non-smokers with attractive flavours, give the products away and
imposes no obligations for nicotine limits or health warnings on packages.
Key facts:

  • The sale of nicotine-based vaping products on the grey market was tolerated in Canada for several years until it was legalized by the passage of the federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act in May 2018.
  • One-fifth of high school aged kids report that they are using vaping products, as are one-seventh of children who are only 13 and 14 years old. (2)
  • Youth vaping among 16-19-year olds increased by a dramatic 74% in a single year, from 2017 to 2018. (3)
  • Youth cigarette smoking dropped dramatically after tobacco promotions were restricted in this way in the early 2000s, as did their use of flavoured little cigars after the flavourings were restricted.
  • Earlier this year, a public opinion poll found that almost nine in 10 Canadian (86%) supported the government applying the same advertising restrictions to vaping products with nicotine as were applied to tobacco products.(4) Seven out of 10 (69%) support urgent intervention by the government to address use among young people.
  • In March, every province and territory formally called on the federal government to align restrictions on the display, advertising and promotion of vaping products with those in place for tobacco products.(5)

QUOTES:
“Youth vaping is now a public health crisis. There is mounting evidence for it and we need to act now instead of reacting later. We are calling on each political party to commit to enact or to support an urgent interim order.” Dr. Sandy Buchman, President of the Canadian Medical Association 

“This crisis was created by inadequate regulation and irresponsible marketing,” The relaxed rules set by Parliament last year allowed tobacco and nicotine companies to flood the market and promote these attractive, inexpensive, flavourful, kid-friendly devices through social media, on TV and through other means seen by young people.” Ms. Flory Doucas, Co-Director and spokesperson, Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control 

“Given the progress that has been made to reduce youth smoking, we do not need a new generation of teenagers becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping products. Simply put, young people simply should not be exposed to promotion for vaping products through their favourite social media channels
or by other means.” Mr. Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society 

“There is mounting evidence linking vaping to serious short- and long-term health harms. It is imperative for consumers to be aware on the risks before they use these products. Without health warnings or testing and reporting requirements, consumers will remain naïve to these risks.” Dr. Andrew Pipe, Chair of the Board of Directors, Heart & Stroke 

“Even without the recent tragic reports linking vaping to acute respiratory disease and deaths, the products have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, impaired brain development among teenagers and adverse pregnancy outcomes. People who both smoke cigarettes and vape appear to be at greater risk of disease than if they only smoked cigarettes.” Ms. Cynthia Callard, Executive Director Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

“Enough is enough. Strong measures are urgently needed to protect children and teens from these products. Close to a year ago, the government committed to regulate vaping promotions. We can not wait any longer.” Mr. Les Hagen, Executive Director, Action on Smoking & Health 

“The government has a wide statutory duty to protect the health of Canadians and the power to put temporary regulations in place when immediate action is required to deal with significant risks to health. Such interim orders can be in effect for up to 12 months, allowing the next Parliament to develop
permanent reforms to the law and its regulations.” Mr. Michael Perley, Executive Director, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco 

“With this interim order, the vaping market can quickly be brought under the same kind of controls that are currently in place for tobacco products. This will prevent vaping companies from enticing young people with fun flavours like Peach Swirl or exposing them to promotions which are visible to the general public.” Mr. Terry Dean, CEO, Canadian Lung Association

Contacts:
Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society, 613-565-2522 ext. 4981
Marketa Stastna, Canadian Lung Association, 613-325-3605, mstastna@lung.ca
Anick Losier, Canadian Medical Association, 613-807-0457, anick.losier@cma.ca
Flory Doucas, Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, 514-515-6780
Joshua Terry, Heart & Stroke, 416 489-7111 ext. 24806, Joshua.terry@heartandstroke.ca
Cynthia Callard, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, 613-600-5794

_____________


1 Department of Health Act – Section 11.1:
https://lois-laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/H-3.2/page-1.html#h-252966).
11 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations to give effect to and carry out the objects of this Act.
(2) Every person who contravenes a regulation is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Interim Orders
11.1 (1) The Minister may make an interim order that contains any provision that may be contained in a regulation made
under section 11 if the Minister believes that immediate action is required to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect,
to health or safety.
(2) An interim order has effect from the time that it is made but ceases to have effect on the earliest of
(a) 14 days after it is made, unless it is approved by the Governor in Council,
(b) the day on which it is repealed,
(c) the day on which a regulation made under section 11, that has the same effect as the interim order, comes into force,
and
(d) one year after the interim order is made or any shorter period that may be specified in the interim order.

2 Earnscliffe Strategy Group. Qualitative and Quantitative Research on Perceptions of Nicotine. Final Report. POR 067-18. Exhibit G10, G18, G26. Data for 15-19 year olds and 13-14 year olds.
http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/health/2019/067-18-e/report.pdf 

Hammond D et al., Prevalence of vaping and smoking among adolescents in Canada, England, and the United States: repeat national cross sectional surveys. BMJ 2019;365:l2219

4 Leger. Promotion of Vaping Products seen by youth. April 2019.
http://www.cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2019/POLL_19_04_08_Leger_YouthVaping_Measures.pdf

5 Letter from Andrew Loughead and Dr. Robert Strang to Health Canada. March 22, 2019.

Media Contacts
  • Katrina van Bylandt
    Director, Communications
    BC Lung Association
    Text or call 778.772.4788

    Jack Boomer
    Director, Clean Air Coalition of BC
    T 250 721 4268
    C 250 589 4268
    jackboomer@shaw.ca