A proposal by the government of Quebec to ban nontobacco-flavored nicotine vaping products will have negative consequences for public health if enacted, according to the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA).
In addition to the flavor restrictions, the recently released draft legislation proposes a volume limit of 2 mL on prefilled devices and a limit of 30 mL on refill containers. Additionally, the regulations would restrict nicotine concentrations to 20 mg/mL and prohibit the use of any form, appearance or function that may be attractive to minors, both of which have already been regulated by the federal government.
If the draft rules are implemented, Quebec, with its population of 8.5 million, will become the largest Canadian province to prohibit flavors, according to Vaping360. Quebec is the country’s second-most populous province. According to the Alliance of Vape Shops in Quebec, there are over 400 independent vape shops in the province, employing over 2,200 people and generating more than $300 million in economic activity. The trade group predicts the shops will all close.
In 2021, federal health agency Health Canada proposed a flavor ban that was scheduled to take effect in early 2022, but that plan seems to have been abandoned or postponed indefinitely without explanation. Health Canada’s updated vaping products regulations page makes no mention of the flavor restrictions.
The CVA says Quebec proposed its rules despite warnings by the industry about their negative impacts. Vaping is proven to be significantly less harmful than smoking, according to the CVA, which says there is substantial evidence from jurisdictions that have already implemented flavor bans that the public health outcome is negative, as many vapers will return to smoking and fewer smokers will switch to vaping.
“Quebec’s decision to ban flavors is a major win for tobacco companies, out-of-province vendors and contraband sellers,” said Darryl Tempest, government relations counsel to the CVA board, in a statement. “What Quebec has done is shift demand to tobacco owned products, retailers outside of Quebec and criminals. Quebec’s small businesses and domestic industry will be irreparably harmed in favor of multinational corporations,” said Tempest.