Alternatives and Options owner Thomas Kirsop shows one of the few products he’ll be able to sell after Bill S-5 receives Royal Assent in his right hand and one he won’t be able to sell in the other. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
A new notification from the Consumer Product Safety Directorate (CPSD), part of Health Canada, has vape stores concerned their business could be severely restricted in what they can sell when Bill S-5, a bill related to e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and e-liquids, receives Royal Assent in the next few months.
“The minute it [Bill S-5] receives royal assent, they’re going to apply existing frameworks in Consumer Chemicals Container Regulations 2001 to vaping,” said Alternatives and Options owner Thomas Kirsop. “In particular, e-liquid bottles will have to have a childproof cap, and they will have to be labelled to a certain standard, which includes hazard warnings, French and English labels, and ingredient listings.”
But while products on Kirsop’s and other vape store owner’s store shelves already have childproof caps, it is a footnote at the bottom of the notification that has the shop more concerned.
“The footnote at the bottom of the notification also mentions e-liquid tanks and cartridges would also have to follow these rules,” Kirsop said. “The problem we run into with that is no tank on the market currently meets the standards for child-resistant access, and because of the size of Canada’s market, we are not likely to be able to impart the importance of this on the Chinese manufacturers who make these tanks for a worldwide market.”
Kirsop said the CPSD notification, which he recently received in the mail, makes nearly every product in his shop, except the e-liquid bottles, illegal the moment S-5 gets Royal Assent.
“All I’ll be left with is a couple of small products that weren’t very effective, to begin with,” he said. “If you’re going to follow the law, that’s the way shops are going to wind up.”
It’s left him concerned with what he will have to do with the stock that will not be able to be sold once the Bill is finalized.
“We just finished our year-end inventory, and I am estimating ten to fifteen thousand dollars worth of stock will go in the garbage or get locked up until we can sort things out,” Kirsop said, adding his concern is for smokers because existing vape users have been buying product online for years. “The smokers require a little more guidance and help making a decision as to what they need.”
Kirsop is concerned that being able to only sell liquids and coils in his shop and sending customers online for the hardware will send smokers back to cigarettes.
“They’re going to go smoke because they can pick that up at a store next to my shop for $15,” Kirsop said.
The shop owner is not opposed to Bill S-5, which is largely designed to protect youth by making it illegal to sell product to those under the age of 18.
Currently, there is no law in place to prevent the sale of vape products to minors, something Kirsop is opposed to.
“We set that standard when we opened up the shop – that we would not sell to youth,” he said. “Proxy sales do happen, and we do try to stop them. Only a fool would tell you he stops every single one. We do the best we can.”
Kirsop said selling to minors is one thing Bill S-5 makes crystal clear. In addition to making the sale to anyone under the age of 18 illegal, the Bill will prohibit packaging from referencing candy, bakery or soft drink flavours.
But he is concerned government departments will not help his industry any.
“You’ve got this Bill that gives you a framework for controlling a substance, and you’re passing it without having any knowledge of where the agencies involved Health Canada, Consumer Product Safety Directorate [are going]. They are going to be given free reign to apply whatever regulations they need within the framework. This statement about tanks is the first instance where that is going to be really bad for the industry. The guys who are going to follow the law, will be left with nothing on their shelves to sell.”
Updated Nov. 2 to correct a typo.