Flavors in vaping products | Quebec ready to crack down

(Quebec) A draft regulation has just landed on the desk of the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, to ban flavors in vaping products, whose popularity is growing among young people. Its adoption is expected in the coming weeks.

The Public Health Department presented this project to him last week, which followed recommendations made in August 2020.

The regulation of the vaping industry is a file that drags on in Quebec, delayed among other things by the pandemic of COVID-19. The Legault government said in 2019 that it intended to tighten the screw and ban perfumes, but to date it had not presented any new regulatory framework. A draft regulation is finally on the table and is in the process of being adopted.

Minister Christian Dubé’s office confirms that the document is in his hands, without wanting to comment on its content. “We are going to take the time to analyze all the details, and we will communicate in due time,” he replied to The Press.

In principle, the draft regulation should be presented to the Council of Ministers and, as required by procedure, published in the Quebec Official Gazette for its adoption.

In a 2020 report, Public Health made seven recommendations to better regulate the vaping industry.

So far, the Legault government has given the green light to only one of them: taxing vaping products, a measure that will come into effect this fall.

“The effects of vaping, particularly among young people, are of great concern to us,” says Minister Dubé’s office. He worries that a new generation will become addicted to nicotine because of these products.

We want to go further with other recommendations. It is precisely for this reason that Public Health presented us in the last few days with a draft regulation in order to put in place certain other measures.

Office of the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé

When the Public Health report was tabled, Christian Dubé reacted by saying that he wanted to “quickly tackle certain specific measures” that were recommended to him:

  • “prohibit the sale of vaping products with a flavor or aroma other than those of tobacco, as is the case for tobacco products”;
  • “limit the maximum nicotine concentration of all vaping products to 20 mg/ml as well as regulate the capacity of reservoirs and the maximum volume of bottles of liquid to be vaped”.

After two and a half years of waiting, these two measures are included in a draft regulation.

Admittedly, Ottawa already limits the concentration of nicotine to 20 mg/ml, but Quebec government inspectors do not have the power to enforce the rule, and Health Canada is not very active in the field. Result: products reaching 50 mg/ml are still available on the market. A Quebec-specific regulation would allow inspectors to crack down on this illegal sale.

The increasingly wide range of flavors – from vanilla to piña colada – contributes to the popularity of the products.

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Growing for 10 years

Vaping has also been on a “metadic” rise among young Quebecers for 10 years, revealed the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec in October. Nearly one in five teenagers now vapes, even though the sale of these products is prohibited to minors. And among these young people aged 15 to 17, 33% do it every day. A similar proportion is observed among young adults.

According to a survey by the firm Léger conducted in December for the Quebec Student Sport Network, 28% of the 510 people surveyed, aged 17 to 25, say they vape at least occasionally (26% for cigarettes). They are 93% to believe that vaping is a problematic phenomenon in their age group.

At the beginning of February, Liberal MP Enrico Ciccone hounded Minister Christian Dubé at the Blue Room about the regulation of the vaping industry. He accused her of dragging her feet. “This government, which is in its fifth year, has still done nothing to reduce the consumption of this crap. And I repeat, this is crap! “, he launched. The Minister responded by saying he wanted to “do things in order” and consult his party’s caucus before taking action.

In December, the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, announced that Quebec will follow in the footsteps of the federal government, which introduced a tax on vaping products on 1is october.

The Quebec tax will come into effect this fall. It will be the same as the federal one: $1 per 2 ml for containers of less than 10 ml; for larger containers, $5 for the first 10 milliliters and $1 for each additional 10 ml. Vapers will therefore see the amount of taxes double this fall. Quebec plans to raise $40 million a year.

The Legault government has never been warm to another of Public Health’s 2020 recommendations, that of “establishing a sales license for vaping products and, for the sake of consistency, [un autre] for tobacco products. Quebec fears the administrative burden of such an operation.

18 % : Prevalence of vaping among adolescents (compared to 17% among young adults and 2% among those aged 25 and over)

33 % : Proportion of adolescent vapers who consume these products every day (compared to 39% among 18-24 year olds)

Source : Quebec survey on tobacco and vaping products 2020 (INSPQ)

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