In the furore around World No Tobacco Day last week, Jorge Araya, president of Imperial Tobacco Canada, reiterated the company’s commitment to offering what it calls “potentially reduced-risk products to adult consumers” and to help discourage problem youth vaping with a new educational campaign for retailers.
“Our position is very clear. Just as we believe that youth should not smoke, we agree that youth should not vape. Despite our own youth prevention efforts and Health Canada’s recent education campaign, youth vaping is still occurring, and it must be addressed before it becomes as significant a problem as youth alcohol or cannabis consumption1,” Araya said in a statement.
To properly address youth vaping,the company said it is important to understand how and where Canadian youth are getting their products and to ensure that the laws already in place are enforced.
“We work closely with our retail partners to ensure they uphold the minimum age laws. We ensure our on-line sales are age verified both when the order is placed and at the time of delivery,” said Araya. “And while we are confident that the vast majority of youth do not obtain these products directly through convenience retail locations, today we launched a new campaign in retail stores to further educate retailers and remind consumers that vaping products are not to be sold to youth.”
The company says that while their vaping products play a role in achieving the federal government’s objective of reducing the smoking rate to 5% by 2035, the federal and provincial governments must implement the right regulatory framework that balances various objectives.
“Despite the evolving attitudes towards vaping, it remains a controversial subject with serious hurdles to overcome. The most pressing is striking the right regulatory balance that ensures that youth do not have access to vaping products, and adult smokers have the necessary information if they want to switch,” said Araya.
Health Canada has acknowledged that vaping is a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. Imperial point to the UK, where Public Health England estimates that vaping products are at least 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and “as a result of their progressive policies over 1.7 million smokers have quit smoking.”
“If we continue to put our combined efforts behind addressing youth vaping and implementing the right regulatory framework, we have a real opportunity to make a difference for society, governments, our company, and most importantly, adult smokers,” said Araya.