Health Canada last week proposed a ban on the distribution of all flavored vape products except tobacco, mint and menthol.
This news has been difficult for owners of vape shops like Austin Robertson and his brother Myles, who own 11 vape shops across Canada, including one in Kelowna. Austin says this new law would mean those who tried to quit smoking by using an electronic cigarette would simply go back to smoking.
“Adult vapers are just going to be repelled to smoke traditional tobacco, and that’s what the vape industry has always been about, is to keep adults away from combustible tobacco. If you take the flavors out, you push vapers back into smoking and that’s what this company was designed to help people find a healthier alternative to smoking, ”Austin said.
With more than 1,400 vaping stores across Canada, the industry says the new law could be a fatal blow.
“If they take the flavors out, we’re essentially shutting down, and every retailer across Canada would shut down. We’ve analyzed our data on all of our stores, and roughly 98% of our sales are flavored e-liquids for adults. You take out the flavors and then you take away the ability for people to make a healthy decision like this, ”Austin said.
Myles Robertson is also frustrated with the potential of his business and with the closure of many others. He says people will always find a way to get these flavored products without supporting their local vape shops.
“These ingredients needed to make flavored e-juice can be bought in any grocery store, online, and indeed, that will also bring the black market back to life, and these people will buy and sell without any regulation on who they are. can buy and sell, which means kids will be able to get their hands on it much easier, ”Myles said.
Castanet recently conducted an online survey to find out if people were in favor of banning flavors. Just under 9,500 people responded, with 50 percent of votes saying they agreed with the ban, 43 percent said they were against and six percent said they didn’t know. not what they feel.
The Canadian Cancer Society has welcomed the flavor restrictions proposed by Ottawa as a step in the right direction. But the group called for the draft regulations to be amended during the 75-day consultation period, launched last week, to add mint and menthol to the list of banned flavors, citing their appeal to young people.
Also last week, the federal government finalized a regulation that lowers the maximum level of nicotine for vaping products sold in Canada from 66 mg / ml to 20 mg / ml.
The nicotine cap will go into effect for e-cigarette manufacturers on July 8, and retailers will have to remove products that exceed the limit after July 23.
A Statistics Canada report released in March suggests that about one in seven young Canadians reported vaping in the previous month in 2019.
“Vaping puts a new generation of Canadians at risk for nicotine addiction,” Health Minister Patty Hadju said in a statement. “These new measures build on our efforts to prevent young Canadians from vaping. “
with files from the Canadian Press