Starting November 1st, adult vapers in the province of Quebec will no longer be able to purchase falvoured vaping products. It will be illegal for retailers to sell flavoured vaping products in the province, with the exception of unflavoured and tobacco-flavoured products.
Imperial Tobacco Canada (ITCAN) is calling on the government to ensure compliance with its new regulations by creating an ACCES Vapotage program.
“The Quebec government has stated that the flavour ban is intended to reduce the appeal of vaping products to minors,” says Eric Gagnon, vice-president, legal and external affairs at ITCAN. “We have always agreed that young people should neither smoke nor vape. We also agree with the many laws in place prohibiting the sale of these products to minors. What we disagree with is this unilateral approach. It will undoubtedly have negative impacts on adult vapers looking for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes, while enriching the illegal market.”
In 2020, Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to ban flavours in vaping products to reduce youth consumption. A 2021 investigation by the Vaping Industry Trade Association found widespread noncompliance following the imposition of the flavour ban. That Province has also seized large volumes of illegal vaping liquid.
“This suggests that prohibition is not working. The regulations have shifted the sale of these products to the illegal market where they are unregulated and where the laws in place to prevent sales to minors are completely ignored,” continues Gagnon.
There is a precedent for enforcement. The Quebec government set up the ACCES Tabac and ACCES Cannabis programs to enforce fines, conduct investigations, and seize product in connection with the illegal tobacco and cannabis markets.
“These initiatives work. We hope that the Quebec government establishes something similar for flavoured vapour products. At the very least, the government should take steps to enforce the new regulations and apply the necessary sanctions to merchants who break the law,” concludes Gagnon.