Quebec intends to prohibit the sale of flavoured vape products

20 April 2023

By Daniel J. Rowe, CTV News

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced his intention to table regulation that would prohibit the sale of flavoured vaping products (other than tobacco flavour) in the coming weeks.

In the Wednesday Gazette Officielle du Quebec, proposed amendments to the Tobacco Control Act include seeking the prohibition of selling or distributing “a tobacco product containing a flavour or aroma other than tobacco flavour or aroma, electronic cigarettes or any other such device, including any other such device, including their components and accessories.”

In addition, Quebec seeks to prohibit e-cigarette manufacturers from selling products that do not comply with nicotine concentration (20 milligrams per milliliter) and shape of product standards.

The legislation will also include restrictions on selling products in toy, food, animal or character shapes that appeal to minors.

In addition, the new regulation will restrict the capacity of tanks and capsules to 2 milliliters and the maximum volume of refill containers for vaping liquids to 30 milliliters.

Dubé and the Minister responsible for Sport, Recreation, and Outdoors, Isabelle Charest, state that the draft regulation follows the recommendations of the special intervention group on vaping, which includes representatives of various government departments and agencies, the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), clinicians and public health directors.

The government says the number of high school students who reported having vaped in the prior 30 days more than quintupled between 2013 and 2019, to 21 per cent from four per cent.

The legislation is expected to be tabled within 90 days.

“This draft regulation is expected to have a financial impact on businesses that derive revenue from the sale of these products, particularly in terms of reduced turnover and loss of jobs, particularly for shops specializing in vaping products,” the document reads. “However, a lesser impact is envisaged for businesses that offer a variety of other products, such as convenience stores and gas stations.”

Specialized vape stores drew the ire of the anti-tobacco coalition recently when some began selling candy and other treats so minors could enter their establishments.

Under Quebec law, minors are not permitted to enter specialized vaping stores. By adding sweet treats, the stores fall under convenience store regulations, and kids under the age of 18 can enter.

The coalition argued that the candy flavours found in vape products are attractive to young people.

In Canada, Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories have already banned all e-cigarette flavours aside from tobacco. In BC, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, flavoured vaping liquids are restricted to specialty vape shops.

Dube said in 2020 that he intended to focus on prohibiting flavour and limiting nicotine concentration in all vaping products.  

‘EXCELLENT NEWS’: HEART & STROKE

The Heart & Stroke Foundation called the new regulation “excellent news,” saying it has long advocated for a flavour ban in response to high youth vaping rates.

“More than a quarter of young people started smoking cigarettes after they started vaping because they are addicted to nicotine,” said Kevin Bilodeau, director of government relations, Quebec, at Heart & Stroke. “Nine out of ten young people say flavours are an important reason why they started vaping and the same number say it’s an important reason why they continue to do so.”

In a statement, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH) defended flavoured vape products, saying the company is “clear that youth should never use any nicotine-containing product,” and that they give legal age smokers another option to encourage them to chose smoke-free alternatives.

“We are clear that youth should never use any nicotine-containing product, including vaping products. Our smoke-free products are intended only for current adult smokers,” it said.

Imperial Tobacco Canada said it is “disappointed in this decision” and believes that the proposed restrictions on flavours in vaping products are “misguided.” 

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