OTTAWA – LIVING – The Canadian Vaping Association states, “As Canada pursues a prohibitionist regulatory path for nicotine vaping products, many academics, health authorities and tobacco control experts have spoken out cautioning the government that overly restrictive vape regulation will harm public health”.
Earlier this week, the Institute of Cardiology of Montreal has added its voice through the release of an article titled “Ban the flavours of vaping liquids? A very bad idea.”
The article argues that the foundation of Canada’s proposal to ban flavours is flawed and that there is no youth epidemic. Throughout the article several studies are assessed which find that only 1% of youth who vape were not previous smokers. It also explores data from San Francisco that shows a significant increase in youth smoking following a ban on vape flavours.
“In other words, the “vaping epidemic” among young people, so decried by anti-tobacco organizations, has not led to an increase, but rather a marked decrease in youth smoking, something which would obviously be impossible if vaping led young people to smoke,” said Dr. Martin Juneau, Cardiologist and Director of Prevention at the Institute of Cardiology of Montreal.
Dr. Juneau also notes his concern that it seems adult smokers are being lost in the conversation that is so fixated on youth vaping and highlights the products superior efficacy compared to other quit aids. “There is nothing abstract or theoretical about the effectiveness of the electronic cigarette in promoting smoking cessation: surveys show that at least 4.3 million Americans , 2.4 million Britons and 7.5 million ‘Europeans have quit smoking thanks to these devices, at the same time drastically reducing their risk of dying prematurely. There is therefore no doubt that electronic cigarettes have strongly contributed to the significant drop in adult smoking worldwide, which has fallen from 23.5% in 2007 to 19% today,” said Dr. Juneau.
“For all of these reasons, it seems to us that banning vaping flavors is a terrible idea. The effectiveness of this measure in stopping vaping among young people is questionable (flavors are only one of the factors that encourage vaping) and it is certain that it will have negative impacts on adult smokers by eliminating an alternative to tobacco. It should also be mentioned that a decrease in the number of adults who quit smoking has a negative impact on young people, not only because parental smoking is the main risk factor linked to the initiation of smoking in children and adolescents, but also due to psychological trauma caused by tobacco-related illnesses and/or deaths of adults in their circle…I can no longer count the number of my patients who had tried everything, without success, to overcome their addiction to tobacco, until the day when they tried electronic cigarettes and finally succeeded. A success that was in many cases a real question of life and death, because there is no doubt that many of them would have died today if they had not succeeded in quitting smoking,” concluded the article.
As Health Canada considers the feedback received during the consultation period, the Canadian Vaping Association echo’s the sentiment of the Institute of Cardiology of Montreal – the health of adult smokers must be a primary consideration for regulators.