Big tobacco wants into the Vaping scene in Canada

OUR Two cents:

This is not a surprise to us, and is something that has happened in other countries, including the US, and Europe.  In the United States, Blu e-cigs was purchased by Fontem Ventures, a subsidiary company of Imperial Tobacco.  Using the Blu brand, Imperial tobacco now sells vaping supplies in the US, UK, France and Italy.Our 2 cents

What is the issue with tobacco companies owning vape companies?  You might think this to be a good idea, and on the surface this may seem so.  Truthfully however, allowing big tobacco into the vaping sales would have detrimental affects on vaping in Canada, of this there is no doubt.

For the entire history of big tobacco, they have been chronic liars, paying off doctors, settling out of court settlements, creating pseudo laboratories to provide fake testimonials and studies about the affects of smoking and cigarettes.  Inventing ‘light’ and ‘extra light’ versions of their products to insinuate safety, and so much more.  Just look at the litigation history of tobacco over the years.  Do you want your vaping supplies controlled by such an organization?  They even used Santa Clause and the Flintstones to advertise smoking, discussing their safety and even positive benefits, paying doctors, actors, and even athletes to promote their brand.  Just watch this quick video as a reminder.

By contrast, the vast majority of Canadian vaping companies, Canada Vapes included, have always been primarily focused on providing our products and services to customers who are legitimately looking to stop smoking cigarettes.  We sell vapes as an alternative to cigarettes.   Our goal is not to create new customers who are not smokers or vapers.  The corporation of big tobacco certainly will do this, and sneakily and manipulatively pursue the goal of increasing vaping in non-smokers and non-vapers to pad their bottom line profits.

Just look at the advertising blu e-cigarettes have done since being purchased by big tobacco, making vaping look ‘ultra cool’ with named celebrities like Stephen Dorf in their advertisements.  And Jenny McCarthy’s ‘without the guilt‘ video.  Just look at their provocative magazine advertising here, using a scantily clad bikini bottom with the tagline “slim, charged and ready to go”  to advertise vaping.

It is a guise that big tobacco wants to give their customers a ‘safer alternative’; what they really want is control of all nicotine delivery systems.  They will want to grow the vaping community, they will target non-smokers and non-vapers, trying to increase their profits.   Tobacco and vaping are two different worlds, with completely different goals, and completely different affects on people.  One is pitted against the other, with vaping’s goal to reduce smoking.  Its like a McDonald’s selling courses on how to quit going to fast food restaurants.  There is an evil in the methodology of big tobacco, and anything they say to the contrary is nothing but another one of their many lies they have told over the years.

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They sell cigarettes — Now Imperial Tobacco wants to sell e-cigarettes and vaping products, too

Company hopes new federal rules will allow it to communicate more effectively with consumers

By Tarannum Kamlani, CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016 5:51 AM ET

Canada’s biggest tobacco company is hoping the federal government’s upcoming legislation to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping products could usher its entry into the booming $235-million market.

“There’s no doubt that when that’s introduced, we will look at what these are, see how we can potentially be in the market in Canada,” Eric Gagnon, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco Canada, told the fifth estate.

“The objective would be to provide consumers with a different, less harmful product that they could choose and hopefully move away from the cigarette industry.”

When the fifth estate‘s Mark Kelley questioned why Imperial Tobacco would want to sell a product that would compete with cigarettes, the primary source of its profits, Gagnon said: “It’s the same reason why Coke has Diet Coke and they have water.

“So that means with that thinking, there’s no way that Coke could sell water … there’s no way McDonald’s could sell a salad. Why aren’t we allowed to sell a less harmful product?”

 

Eric Gagnon, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco Canada, says the company will look at how it might enter the Canadian market for e-cigarettes and vaping products. (Doug Husby/CBC)

Last month, the federal government announced it would introduce amendments to the Tobacco Act to create a legislative framework to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping products.

The changes are expected to come this fall and will seek to balance protecting minors from developing a nicotine addiction with helping adult smokers use the devices to quit cigarettes or use nicotine in a less harmful way, according to the announcement.

The fifth estate requested an interview with Health Minister Jane Philpott but was told she was not available.

The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is not currently approved by Health Canada and is deemed illegal, although these products are easily available across the country. The new rules would regulate an industry worth an estimated $235 million annually, according to the Canadian Vaping Association.

Gagnon added that he hoped any new rules would also allow the company to communicate more effectively with consumers.

 

The Canadian Vaping Association estimates the e-cigarette and vaping market in Canada is worth $235 million annually. (Doug Husby/CBC)

He told the fifth estate that it would help to ensure adult smokers see the potential health benefits of e-cigarette and vaping products and understand the differences between those products and cigarettes.

“If you want consumers to start using those products, they have to be aware of them,” said Gagnon.

“So if you limit the communication too much as a tobacco product then it becomes very difficult for consumers to be made aware of the potential benefits.”

Under the Tobacco Act, most kinds of tobacco advertising in Canada are prohibited.

‘Accept that responsibility’

In the United Kingdom, Imperial Tobacco’s parent company, British American Tobacco (BAT), has jumped on the e-cigarette and vapour products bandwagon.

BAT was the first company to introduce an e-cigarette into the U.K. market, launching it in 2013. It was also the first cigarette company to get a medicinal licence in the U.K. for a smoking cessation device called the Voke.

The company’s scientific director, David O’Reilly, told Kelley that BAT’s commitment to these products stems from the devastating impact smoking has had on public health.

“We accept that responsibility because we sell cigarettes today,” he said.

“The use of those cigarettes causes death and disease. That’s why we’re investing heavily in the research and development of safer tobacco and nicotine alternatives.”

The World Health Organization estimates about one billion people around the world continue to smoke.  In Canada, tobacco use kills around 37,000 people annually, according to Health Canada.

O’Reilly said he strongly believes “there’s momentum behind tobacco harm reduction,” telling the fifth estate: “If we are part of the problem, as people see it, then we should be part of the solution.”

But some experts in tobacco control aren’t buying BAT’s zeal for harm reduction.

David Hammond, an associate professor of applied public health at the University of Waterloo, served as an expert witness on behalf of governments being sued by tobacco companies over health regulations. He remains skeptical of any talk of harm reduction by a tobacco company.

“I think if they were really interested in harm reduction, they’d stop selling cigarettes. I mean, this is a company that continues to sue governments for putting health warnings on packages, including in Canada.”

Provinces wait

Right now, most of the recent regulation on e-cigarettes in Canada has happened on the provincial level. It varies widely, from very restrictive in Quebec to none at all in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Public health officials across the country are waiting to see how the federal government will shape new regulations on e-cigarettes and vaping products and what role tobacco companies might play.

Peter Donnelly, president of Public Health Ontario, is unconvinced that any tobacco company product could have a public health benefit.

 

Public health officials across Canada are awaiting the new federal regulations on e-cigarettes and vaping products. (Doug Husby/CBC)

“I think one should be extremely cautious about any claim that’s made by people who have a vested interest in people continuing to smoke because that’s where their profits come from,” he told the fifth estate‘s Kelley.

“There is emerging evidence that young people like using it, that young people who use [e-cigarettes] are more likely to go on and smoke, and that’s a tragedy.”

For his part, Imperial Tobacco’s Gagnon told the fifth estate he’s in favour of regulations that protect minors.

“I have two kids. I don’t want my kids to smoke. We support reasonable and evidence-based regulation, especially the ones aimed at keeping tobacco products out of the hands of kids.”

But for others in public health, concerns over the involvement of big tobacco companies are a distraction.

‘Public health emergency’

Dr. Mark Tyndall, executive medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control, calls smoking a public health emergency. In his view, the most marginalized in society are the most negatively affected by smoking and for them, current approaches to quitting don’t work.

“People can say that our programs are working slowly. But it hasn’t really impacted people with mental illness and the poor,” he said.

 

Dr. Mark Tyndall, executive medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control, doesn’t want to see the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes ignored because Big Tobacco companies want to get involved. (BC Centre for Disease Control)

“In my clinical practice, the people who have mental illness smoke cigarettes and we’re doing nothing to help them. And they really deserve something more than a call-to-quit line.”

He told the fifth estate he doesn’t want to see the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes ignored because Big Tobacco companies want to get involved.

“If we’re going to stop this, because Big Tobacco’s behind it or because our kids might get addicted to nicotine, that is not where the attention should be right now. We have a public health emergency and we have something that can help that and we need to act.”

Canada to Regulate E-Cigarettes; Recommendations from the Standing Committee on Health

 canadianthing

This March the Standing Committee of Health produced a report outlining recommendations for the regulation of E-cigarettes based off of evidence collected from eight meetings with a total of thirty-three witnesses, including government officials, health officials, manufacturers, and users of the devices.  Overall  it looks hopeful, and potentially  good news for vapers in Canada.  You can read the full report here.

 

The Good:

  • Recommendation 1:  That the Government of Canada financially supports research on the health effects of E-cigs (potential risks and benefits), and their impact on the uptake of nicotine products by youth and on other tobacco control efforts (renormalization and potential gateway effects).  We feel that this is good because currently the claims against e-cigarettes are not supported by evidence, and conducting research is more likely to dispel disparaging attitudes than create new ones.
  • Recommendation 2:  That the Government of Canada works with all affected stakeholders to establish a new legislative framework for regulating electronic cigarettes.  This is awesome because it means that they will not be regulated as tobacco, or medical products (won’t be required to have a prescription to obtain a vape etc).
  • Recommendation 7:  Establish standards relating to the safety of all components of electronic cigarettes, and also require manufacturers and importers of electronic cigarettes to disclose information relating to ingredients.   We feel  that it’s important for consumers to have full disclosure.
  • Recommendation 8:  Require electronic cigarette components be sold in child resistant packaging, and that all packaging clearly and accurately indicate the concentration of nicotine and contain appropriate safety warnings about the product.  This recommendation makes sense, and would certainly improve the safety of vaping.
  • Recommendation 9:  Prohibit electronic cigarette manufacturers from making unproven health claims.    We couldn’t agree with this more!
  • Recommendation 10:  Prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes or other electronic nicotine delivery systems to person under the age of 18.  Most retailers are already enforcing this rule, ourselves included.

The Bad:

  • Recommendation 5:  Electronic Cigarettes be required to be visually distinct from other tobacco products (ie not look like a cigarette, like our e-dart).   This recommendation is based off of the fear that vaping may re-normalize tobacco use, and as outlined in recommendation 1 there currently is not enough evidence to support the claim. 
  • Recommendation 6:  Establish maximum levels of nicotine contained in electronic cigarette liquid or vapour.   This could pose unnecessary limitations on consumers , as the amount of nicotine considered to be safe in e-liquid is well over the amount currently found in even the highest concentrations available.

The Ugly:

  • Recommendation 11:  Prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems in federally regulated public spaces.  This would prohibit vaping in bars, restaurants, and other places that may want to cater to vapers. 
  • Recommendation 12:  Restrictions for advertising and promotional activities for these products.  This recommendation greatly imposes on businesses and consumers ability to connect with appropriate harm reduction devices. 
  • Recommendation 14:  Prohibit the use of flavourings in electronic cigarette liquids that are specifically designed to appeal to youth, such as candy flavourings.  This recommendation comes from the baseless idea that youth, whom are mostly mimicking adult behaviors when they engage in smoking may be drawn to vaping because of candy flavours.  A large amount of vapers prefer sweet and fruity flavours, and this would pose unnecessary restrictions on them.

Overall the recommendations to regulate e-cigarettes are very reasonable, other than the few that lack supporting evidence to warrant their creation (in their current forms).  While some of the recommendations are not favourable  we feel positive that if The Canadian Government continues to work with all stakeholders and pays close attention to research coming forward in support of vaping we will have a world class regulatory system.

US to ban e-cigarette sales to minors — is Canada Next?

After many years of neglect, the U.S. food and drug administration has finally proposed a rule that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.   In our humble opinion, this is something that should have been addressed years ago.  This long awaited proposal would be the first federal regulation of electronic cigarettes in the US.

This ruling will be a step towards broader restrictions in the US, after many years of a ‘wild west’ attitude, with no regulations at all.  Other areas that will be looked at is the advertising of e-cigarettes, and the flavoring options of e-cigarettes.  Critics of advertising of e-cigarettes state that it risks introducing young people to electronic cigarettes in the first place.  Others believe that having appropriate warnings for electronic cigarettes — i.e. only for use by adults over the age of 18 on advertisements would be a much better option.  Some have argued that the flavouring options; Cotton Candy, and fruit flavours for example, appeal to younger people and should therefore be banned.  FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the current proposal “lays the foundation for many more actions and activities.

How will this affect Canadians?  Likely not too much in the foreseeable future.  Health Canada is typically very slow and methodical to react to anything, and often waits to see how other Countries decisions and actions effect their system before taking any action.  Health Canada’s response to the US restriction for sale to minors simply said this:  “(We are) monitoring the actions of regulators in other jurisdictions, and considering all options for appropriate oversight of these products“.    I guess only time will tell, however if the past is any indication fo the future, any regulations that take place in the US will likely be copied very slowly in Canada.

 

 

Vaping on Air Canada – Air Canada staff allows electronic cigarette use on flight

Man Vapes his electronic Cigarette on Air Canada Flight

On March 28th, a man boarding an Air Canada flight headed to Toronto from Calgary airport vaping his electronic cigarette.  This man continued to vape throughout the flight, and many were surprised that the Air Canada flight attendants either did not see him, or did nothing to stop him.  Officially, Air Canada does have a policy in regards to using an electronic cigarette while on board an airplane:

You can read Air Canada’s official stance on electronic cigarettes here, where they clearly label electronic cigarettes as acceptable items to bring on board the aircraft, with this exception: Electronic cigarettes (or ‘e-cigarettes’), provided they remain stowed and unused in your carry-on baggage. 

So the bottom line is that you are allowed to bring electronic cigarettes and electronic cigarette accessories with you on board an Air Canada flight, however you are not supposed to have it on your person, and should not actually use it.  This is more then likely simply a matter of the flight attendents of Air Canada not being aware of the polocies of electronic cigarettes during flight.  While all studies that have been done to date have shown no negative effects of second hand ‘vape’ to those around you, never the less with individual companies, they ultimately have the right to accept or reject people using electronic cigarettes in their places of business, and in this case being Air Canada’s planes.

It is very likely that over the next few years we will begin to see signs very similar to the smoking and no smoking signs we are all familiar with being edited to include vaping and no vaping signs as well.  Hopefully our aggressive government will not overstep themselves once again, and continue to allow the individual companies and businesses to choose for themselves whether they want to be accepting of their patrons using electronic cigarettes in their businesses.

While this is certainly not a big story, it is something to keep your eye out for as each business and corporation both needs to decide what their policies are going to be regarding the use of electronic cigarettes, as well as their enforcement of said laws.  With this new technology of electronic cigarettes gaining popularity across Canada, these questions will need to be answered sooner rather then later.