I’m really at a loss here.
I just reviewed a Canadian Lung Association commercial against vaping. In it, it shows an ice cream truck, pulling up to what appeared to be a neighbourhood in Toronto, selling ice cream. After describing all the flavors for sale such as bubblegum, vanilla, and other candy flavors, they hand out the ice cream to the children. It is only after handing out this ice cream that they indicate to the concerned parents that there is nicotine laced in their ice cream. This is so wrong. As the teenagers say, I can’t even.
First, e- liquid is only available for purchase by adults. Strictly regulated and strictly enforced, period. Second, the fact that there is nicotine in e-liquid is never hidden. All e-liquid legally sold in Canada must contain a warning label indicating its ingredients. Third, with the new regulations, at least in Ontario, anyone under 18 years old will not even see any advertising or promotion of any vaping related items. Lastly, e-liquid has been available in fruity and sweet flavours for over 10 years, and increased youth use has been increasing only over the past few years. There has to be another reason..
Beyond the idiocy of this promotional material I will provide a reasonable analytical explanation as to why it is ignorant to think that a vaping company would even want youth as customers. Let’s go beyond the moral and ethical responsibilities of every human being as a community to prevent our young people from activities that could cause harm, addiction, or pose challenges in their lives. Let’s focus only on the business aspect of running a vape shop.
Why a Vape Shop would NEVER target youth:
- Teenagers are Fickle
First, teenage vapers are fickle. Since the majority of teenagers are not using vaping products as they are recommended or created for, they are not regular users. Teenagers tended to intentionally overdose on nicotine using very high nicotine devices such as JUUL pods in order to get a significant nicotine buzz similar to that of a marijuana joint or pipe. This is why at Canada Vapes we do not sell ultra high nicotine e-liquids.
With this in mind, a teenage customer would likely purchase much less product from a vaping company than a committed, adult ex-smoker. A teenager may purchase a vape one time to use at a party and never vape again, whereas a 45-year-old man, for example, who has been smoking for 25 years and finds vaping an effective method to quit smoking will likely be a customer for many years to come. In fact, this 45-year-old hypothetical customer will also talk with his forty something-year-old friends and family about your product.
- It is breaking the law
The second reason that the idea of targeting youth and promotion of vaping in Canada is idiocy is the fact that it is against the law. The first time fines for selling vaping products to minors is in the thousands of dollars. No intelligently run business would risk these type of fines for the insignificant increase in sales. If these companies exist, I have never heard of them, nor have I had any interaction with their owners. Each and every vape shop owner I’ve ever spoken with fully supports all government regulations on limiting vaping age and IDs each and every customer that comes into their establishment.
- Teenagers don’t have much expendable Money
The third reason that a vape company targeting youth would be a major business mistake is that, to put it bluntly, most teenagers don’t have a lot of money and have many places they want to spend their money. Even if you are selling a product designed and created for teenagers (and vaping products are not) the competition on where teenagers spend their money is intense. Most adults in their 40s, have a full-time job. They likely have other sources of income. They are likely already spending hundreds of dollars a month on cigarettes. These customers are wonderful for vape shops as they have the income to support the transition away from tobacco cigarettes and into vaping. A teenager, on the other hand, has very limited resources and often many more areas that they want to spend their money. From fast food, to malls, to the newest clothing, shoes, concerts, records, and other social activities, the financial capabilities of a teenager is very limited. A smart and savvy vape shop owner would target customers that can actually afford the products they sell.
- Promoting to minors is a publicity nightmare
The fourth reason that of the company would never target youth is because of the terrible publicity that this could create in their business. Just take JUUL for example, who have been accused of targeting youth, and poor business practices, and see how terribly their name has been run through the mud. Look at their stock valuation, look at their sales numbers, you’ll quickly see that even being accused of targeting youth will have a major detrimental effect to your small business.
- It is simply not necessary.
This fifth reason the vaping companies don’t target youth is because it is simply not necessary. Between the ages of 21 and 75 there is a massive number of smokers all across the world. There is an estimated 1.1 billion smokers in the world which is an absolutely monstrous number of potential customers. There is literally no need for any vape companies to consider promotions to non-smokers, youth smokers, or any other demographic because there is simply a massive target market available for them.
If an insane and irrational vape shop owner were to run a vape shop designed to try to acquire a teenage customer base, they would most certainly be out of business before the paint was dry in their store. Quite simply, promoting vaping to youth is a terrible and damning business decision.
Please note that the most applicable reason to not sell the products to minors is that of a moral one. I was able to explain using five simple reasons why vape companies would be absolutely mad to consider promoting their products to minors. I did this without using any moral or ethical justifications or explanations. When you add this moral reasoning, it becomes abundantly clear that the only reason vape products are available in fruity, candy, and sweet flavours are for adult vapers that actually enjoy the sweet taste. Similarly to fruit and candy infused alcohol; there is no denying that just because you get older, you never stop enjoying the sweeter things in life.