This week has seen no more new information from the CDC, except for the large role "Dank Vapes" products played, but this was already known months ago. They are now aware that Dank Vapes is a non-centralized generic brand of packaging that has no single source. Black market profiteers sourced this generic packaging online to package their own personal products and they are known to contain a range of contaminants including Vitamin E Acetate, the only chemical of concern thus far identified.
Meanwhile, the CBC has been on a mission to steamroll vaping with a series devoted to spreading misinformation called "Vape Fail" along with various outlets publishing pieces aimed at tearing the industry apart with several debunked myths being portrayed as science. These myths include oral health decay, lung collapse, and popcorn lung. Lungs can collapse spontaneously for no apparent reason, and there is no proven link with vaping. Vaping simply does not cause oral decay. Popcorn lung was debunked multiple times over the past 6 years, but despite this, we still commit to product safety by testing for diacetyl.
Nova Scotia and PEI are moving ahead with flavour bans and have expressly refused to hear the voices of vapers, vape advocates, and the vape industry for consultation. This is a subversion of democracy and an insult to the voting public. The result will be several thousands of people returning to smoking, or purchasing from out of province to get their vape products. Either way, the local economy, smokers, and vapers all lose. This is the worst possible action these provinces could have taken and do nothing to deter youth, who can still buy online from the United States and China without any trouble or age verification. Now, Ontario is considering the same path...
In BC, the idea of a flavour ban has been dropped in favour of product taxation. This will likely not have much of an impact on youth uptake, but at least leaves adult vapers and smokers with proper product options.
So what can you do in your province?
Contact your MLA, your provincial health minister or their assistant, and have a calm discussion about your journey from smoking to vaping. Ask for sensible legislation. Depending on your province, there are really 3 problems to address:
1) Youth access points
2) High nicotine strengths (at youth access points)
3) National brand advertising
To address these requires collaboration with provincial and federal government. Youth access points include mainly convenience stores, online from outside of Canada, and friends/family. Ontario provincial infractions data for selling vapour products to minors show 98-100% of these transactions occur in convenience stores. According to a study from the University of Waterloo, the rise in youth uptake only occurred in Canada and the United States where JUUL products were available in high nicotine strengths, but not in the UK where the nicotine limit was set at 20mg/mL. The rapid rise in popularity of these types of products was fueled by inappropriate marketing from tobacco-industry owned companies such as hot air balloons above schools, convenience store displays, people dancing at busy street intersections handing out free products, subway stations, night clubs, buses, and more.
Here are 3 sensible and effective solutions:
1) Provincially, restrict flavours and high nicotine strengths above 20mg/mL to age-restricted specialty vape shops where trained staff can make proper recommendations based on user device preferences and smoking habits. They have shown themselves to be responsible by insisting on ID age verification in store and online.
2) Federally, ban consumer import of vaping products, as American and Chinese retailers do nothing to verify purchaser age. Canadian online retailers not only have warnings, but must use Canada Post age-verification service upon delivery. Many Canadian retailers such as TheraVape also impose a stiff restocking fee for products returned due to customers refusing to provide government-issued age verification. This is intended to penalize underage purchase attempts and deter further illegal activity.
2b) Require 2-step authentication for age verification for Canadian online retail to further prevent youth purchases.
3) Ban vape product brand advertising nationally, outside of age-restricted environments.
If vaping is important to you and the people you care about, get involved, speak with your local politicians, and offer sensible solutions to their problem. That's it for this week. Take care and have a great weekend!
The TheraVape Team.