Above and below: With the passing of Bill S-5, the difference between a complaint and non-compliant vaping juice is as simple as the poison warning on the label.
by Stephen Dafoe
Consumers who use vape products will soon see some changes at their favourite vape stores as new regulations under Bill S-5, which recently received Royal Assent, come into effect.
The Bill now makes it illegal to sell vaping materials to anyone under the age of 18, puts strong restrictions on juices that could appeal to children, and puts strong requirements on labelling, packaging, and marketing.
Thomas Kirsop, owner of Alternatives & Options in Morinville and a member of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada (ECTA) board has spent the past six months preparing his own shop for the passing of Bill S-5 while educating fellow retailers in his industry.
He says there will be little impact for adult consumers in Alberta because the majority of changes implemented by the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) are directed at the manufacturing and sales level of the industry.
“Some of the e-liquid lines we carry are changing immediately due to the application of Consumer Chemical Containers Regulations (CCCR 2001) and the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) to bottling, packaging, and labelling of e-liquids,” Kirsop explained. “Further changes will be seen over the next six months as promotional restrictions on specific categories of flavoured e-liquids kick in. As a business, we knew this was coming through our trade organization so we were already making some moves as early as last November. In some cases, the new legislation mirrors corporate stances we have held since our founding (No sales to minors, label standards, restricted promotion, etc.)”
Kirsop said further TVPA restrictions can be expected as the framework is built upon.
“Of immediate concern (or at least it should be to most vendors) after CCCR and CCPSA compliance will be the prohibition of specific additives in e-liquids and promotional restrictions as they apply to certain flavour categories defined in the act, advertising, and child enticing labeling as those prohibitions and restrictions come into force 180 days after Royal Assent,” he said, noting that packaging that identifies as soft drinks, candy, and anything that could appeal to children.
The local business owner said overall, he finds the TVPA to be relatively balanced and workable for his shop.
“I see nothing to this point in time that will put Alternatives & Options out of business. Mind you, we were known for being somewhat conservative in our stances already, others may not agree or may have more work to do to attain compliance,” Kirsop said, noting he was quite happy to read Health Canada’s public statement on their website that states vaping is less harmful than smoking. “It shows that the body politic is indeed catching up on the science around vaping and not just being guided by spectacular headlines that are to be found on a google search.”
Health Canada’s statement reads in part:
“Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Many of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and the tobacco smoke form when tobacco is burned.”
While offering a thumbs up on the less harmful aspects of vaping compared to tobacco products, Health Canada does offer the caveat that vaping “may also predispose youth to addiction to nicotine and possibly other drugs.”
Kirsop said while he does not subscribe to the gateway theorem he does agree with the Health Canada’s general stance that youth should not be using nicotine bearing products.
Alternatives & Options, like many other vape shops, have had a strong no minors policy prior to the passing of Bill S-5, which made it illegal to sell to minors.
“Those entities that previously furbished minors with vaping products will find themselves subject to significant and escalating fines and legal repercussions should they continue such practices and be caught,”
The entire Health Canada statement can be found online at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/smoking-tobacco/vaping.html.