Canadian vapers encouraged

| October 3, 2016

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has welcomed comments by the federal Minister for Health, Jane Philpott, acknowledging that electronic cigarettes are a less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes and that they can be a useful tool in helping smokers switch from smoking altogether.

“Canada has been a world leader in implementing policies that successfully encourage smokers to give up a habit that has significant health impacts,” said CVA president Stanley Pijl. “The minister’s admission of the benefits of vaping is encouraging and will hopefully see Canada once again leading the way. In contrast, e-cigarette regulations at the provincial level across the country appear unbalanced and overly restrictive and, in our view, will cause more harm by reducing access to a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.”

In a press note, the CVA said that cigarette smoking had a huge impact on both lives and resources. According to Alberta’s health department, cigarette smoking cost Canadians about $17 billion, including $4.4 billion annually in direct health-care costs.

‘A landmark report commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) in 2015 concludes that electronic cigarettes are significantly safer than tobacco smoke and have the potential to help smokers quit,’ the press note said. Key findings of the 111-page review were said to include: electronic cigarettes are estimated to be 95 percent safer than smoking; the health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapor are likely to be extremely low; electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit; electronic cigarettes are used almost exclusively by smokers; there is no evidence that electronic cigarettes are acting as a ‘gateway’ to cigarette use; and, the public’s perception of the relative risk of e-cigarettes is inconsistent with the latest evidence.

The CVA said it believed that if governments moved to regulate and, in some cases, restrict vaping and electronic cigarettes in the same manner as cigarettes, fewer smokers would be encouraged to improve their health by switching to vaping, a recognized less harmful alternative.

“We are generally pleased that the Federal Government has recognized the benefits of vaping, said Pijl. “While we agree with the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Health Report (Vaping: Towards a Regulatory Framework for E-cigarettes) that e-cigarettes should be regulated separately from tobacco so that those who want a less harmful alternative  can easily find one, we also strongly believe governments have an obligation to convey accurate risk information, and that they have a role to play in encouraging cigarette smokers to consider a switch to vaping, a less harmful alternative, to save both lives and scarce healthcare dollars.”

Last week, Philpott said that the government was moving forward with an extension of its tobacco control Strategy and the introduction of ‘new tobacco legislation to address vaping products in Canada’.

‘Originally introduced in 2001 and renewed in 2012, the Strategy is a comprehensive and integrated tobacco control program based on international best practices, through which the government of Canada has helped Canadians reduce their use of tobacco,’ according to a Health Canada press note. ‘The one-year extension of the current Strategy will allow sufficient time to develop a new and effective long-term plan. As part of these discussions, Minister Philpott will host a national forum in early 2017 to discuss the future of tobacco control and hear from a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians, including First Nations and Inuit Canadians.‘At the same time, to address the growing phenomenon of e-cigarettes and vaping, the government will introduce amendments to the Tobacco Act to create a new legislative framework for regulating these products. These changes, to be introduced in the fall, will balance the need to protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use while allowing adult smokers to legally access vaping products for smoking cessation or as a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco.’

Category: Breaking News

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