BEAMSVILLE – HEALTH – The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has been vocal about the harm to public health that the proposed restrictions on flavoured vape products will cause.
This harm has been clearly stated by both industry and tobacco harm reduction advocates. Since the start of the election, over 500 Canadian smokers have died from smoking related disease and illness.
While the Canadian vaping industry, comprised primarily of small businesses owned by reformed smokers, works tirelessly to educate and save lives, prohibitive vaping regulation surrounding flavours works to destroy these very businesses.
While the public health impact of a flavour ban is widely discussed, the impact on Canadian small business is far less talked about. Within the proposal to ban flavours, Health Canada acknowledges that flavour restrictions would disproportionately benefit large foreign companies, while undermining the business model of domestic small businesses. The collateral damage of small business closures and thousands of Canadian jobs lost are seemingly acceptable consequences to Health Canada.
These consequences are demonstrated by Nova Scotia’s flavour ban which came into force on April 1, 2020. Prior to the flavour ban, Nova Scotia had 55 specialty stores. Within 60 days of the restrictions, 24 stores had closed. Today, 24 specialty stores remain open, of which 14 have indicated they intend to close if the pending legal challenge is unsuccessful, and 10 intend to remain open, but are unsure if this is feasible long term.
Currently, there are approximately 1,400 specialty stores in Canada. Industry analysis finds that 90% of these stores will close within 90 days of enforcement if flavour restrictions are pursued. The independent vape industry (non-tobacco affiliated) employs close to 7,000 people. Flavour restrictions jeopardize over a thousand small businesses and thousands of jobs at a time when local economies are especially fragile.
It is alarming that a Canadian department has proposed policy that, by its own admission, will harm Canadian businesses and favour foreign companies. It is common for countries to implement protectionist policies, yet Health Canada has chosen a pathway that will decimate a Canadian industry and cause the deaths of thousands of smokers each and every year.