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New vaping promotion ban comes into effect in Ontario

shutterstock_1373776301A ban on the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations comes into effect across Ontario on January 1st, as the province mulls further changes to keep the items away from young people.

The regulations were announced by the Progressive Conservatives in the fall, in response to research that shows vaping is on the rise among young Ontarians.

The new rules will bring vaping regulations in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco advertisements, but will still allow the products to be promoted in specialty shops open to those 19 and older.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement that the government intends to take further action in 2020, but did not provide additional details.

“Ontario continues to review the research, trends and emerging evidence on the use and health effects of vapour products to inform future policy decisions,” Hayley Chazan said.

“We expect to put forward additional regulations to protect youth in the new year.”

In early December, Elliott said the government was considering a ban on flavoured vapes, as well as examining the nicotine content in the products and where they should be sold.

With the new regulations banning promotion, Ontario joins seven other Canadian provinces which have introduced similar restrictions.

The province was set to ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores in 2018 under the previous Liberal government, but the Tories paused those regulations after taking office.

At that time, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco – which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation – asked the Ford government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.

The groups said such advertising would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers.

On Monday, the campaign’s director said the latest move by the government is a positive step, but there’s more to be done.

“We’re playing a dangerous game with our kids because while there are many expressions of concern, and some indication of actions from both levels of government, we don’t actually have any substantial changes of any kind in Ontario,” Michael Perley said. “With every week that goes by, there are more young people who are taking up vaping and getting addicted to nicotine.”

Perley urged the government to ban flavoured vaping products, which he said encourage young people to take up the habit. Ontario should also raise the legal age to vape to 21 from 19, he said.

“If we don’t get on with this in the next month or two and have some rules in place, the problem will continue to get worse,” he said.

NDP health critic France Gelinas said the province is behind other jurisdictions when it comes to vaping regulations, and she has introduced a private member’s bill to address the problem. The bill, if passed, would prohibit the promotion of vaping products, regulate flavours, set a maximum amount of nicotine per vape, restrict sales to specialty shops, and require Ontario Health to prepare an annual report on vaping usage and health effects.

“This bill sets up firm obligations on the Ministry of Health to prevent Ontario youth from picking up vaping and becoming addicted to nicotine,” Gelinas said in a statement. “When it comes to protecting young people from e-cigarettes and vaping, Ontario is woefully behind the pack.”

 


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Ontario considering ban on flavoured vaping products, health minister says

The Ontario government’s concern for young residents is prompting it to entertain the idea of banning flavoured vaping products, the province’s health minister said last week, as another Canadian province finalized its own prohibition on the popular items.

Christine Elliott said Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is concerned about the spike in youth vaping and is looking at a variety of measures to address it.

“We do know there is more to be done so we are taking a look at the flavoured vapes,” she said. “We are looking at the nicotine content in vapes. We are looking at where vaping products should be sold … we will be taking more steps, absolutely.”

The minister’s statement came the same day Nova Scotia’s health minister announced that province will be the first to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices starting April 1, 2020.

Randy Delorey said the move is aimed at promoting a smoke-free culture in a province where vaping rates have been growing, especially among young people.

Elliott said her advice to young people is to not start vaping, adding that some of the products – featuring enticing flavours such as cotton candy and peach juice – appear to be targeted to a young audience.

“We don’t know the long-term health effects of them,” she said of the products. “We are studying them now, but it’s not a benign substance. It’s not peach juice. You need to be very concerned about using these products.”

Vaping proponents say it is a safer alternative to smoking and can help people quit that habit.

Ontario said last month it would ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, a measure that will come into effect next month.

The province’s previous Liberal government was set to implement similar measures that would have kicked in last July, but the Progressive Conservatives paused those regulations shortly after taking office.

Health authorities in Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping. In the United States, health officials have reported 1,604 cases of vaping-related illnesses, including 34 deaths.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. issued an updated statement regarding the outbreak of lung illness linked to vaping.

It said it has identified vitamin E acetate as a “chemical of concern” among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries.

The CDC said Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive and thickening agent in THC-containing vaping products.

Elliott issued a ministerial order to public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease earlier this fall.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said Thursday that Ontario should follow Nova Scotia’s lead and ban flavoured vaping products.

“Given the number of teens vaping now that’s becoming a huge issue and we need to stop that,” he said.


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Vancouver bans plastic bags, straws, foam containers and other single use items

shutterstock_700694767Vancouver is bringing in bans on the use of plastic bags, straws and other single-use items, while introducing what the city believes to be a first-of-its-kind fee for disposable cups in the country.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says bylaws passed by city council balance public demand for action on disposable items with the needs of those with disabilities and the business community.

“We have heard loud and clear that reducing waste from single-use items is important to residents and that bold action is needed,” Stewart said Thursday in a news release.

Under the new rules, plastic and compostable plastic straws will be banned on April 22, but food vendors must provide bendable straws upon request to meet an accessibility requirement. A one-year extension has been granted to allow plastic straws served with bubble tea, allowing more time for the market to provide alternatives.

Single-use utensils can only be given out when requested.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, plastic and compostable plastic shopping bags will also be prohibited.

Retailers can still provide paper bags, but they must contain at least 40% recycled content. Shoppers will be charged a fee of 15 cents for each paper bag in the first year, then 25 cents a bag after that.

The fees for buying reusable bags will be $1 in 2021 and $2 beginning the next year.

Disposable cups will also come with a 25-cent fee.

“The bylaws are crucial in reducing waste and litter,” said Monica Kosmak, the city’s senior project manager on the plan.

Each week in Vancouver, 2.5 million paper cups and two million plastic shopping bags are thrown out. Over the course of a year, 25 million to 30 million plastic straws also end up in landfills, she said.

Estimating exactly how much waste will be diverted is difficult, however. The city expects the effects of the bans to be significant and Kosmak said studies have shown fees on paper bags reduce their use by 80 to 90%.

Kosmak said Berkeley, Calif., has a disposable cup fee but she believes Vancouver is the first city in Canada to introduce one.

“We are breaking new ground with the fees on disposable cups so we’ll be monitoring that to see how effective it is,” she said.

Each business will keep the mandatory fees it collects.

The new rules join a previously approved bylaw that takes effect on Jan. 1 that prohibits foam cups and takeout containers.

The city has posted toolkits to help businesses and charities prepare for the bans.

But the rules irk some members of the business community. Greg Wilson, director of B.C. government relations with the Retail Council of Canada, said they are cumbersome and complex.

The burden on small businesses is disproportionate, he said, giving the example of a bike repair company that typically gives out fewer than 100 plastic bags a year. Switching to paper bags means they have to reprogram their point-of-sale register to display a separate line for the bag fee, then reprogram it again next year when the fee goes up. They are also required to report the number of single-use items they distribute to customers.

“For a big business, those reprogramming costs, those reporting costs, they’re not overly significant. But for a small independent business, those are very significant,” he said.

Vancouver’s plastic bag rules are also different than neighbouring jurisdictions, which is confusing for consumers and also businesses with stores in multiple municipalities, Wilson said.

“You have something that is very complex and not harmonized with surrounding jurisdictions,” he said.

Kosmak said Vancouver’s plastic bag bylaws closely resemble 12 of the 14 B.C. municipalities that have developed or are developing similar rules.


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Vaping backlash: Nova Scotia bans flavoured e cigarettes, Ontario mulls the same

A nationwide clamp down on vaping continued Thursday as Nova Scotia announced a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, while Ontario hinted that it may soon do the same.

Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey announced the province will be the first to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices in regulatory changes that take effect April 1, 2020.

“This decision is in response to our concerns about the growth in particular of youth vaping,” said Delorey.

Though Nova Scotia has drastically reduced youth smoking rates in the last 30 years, that progress has been stalled by the popularity of flavoured vaping products, he said.

“This is not just about reducing vaping access and use, but it’s also a means to stem potential transfers into traditional tobacco usage as well,” Delorey said.

Between 2017-18, the number of young people smoking and vaping in Canada increased for the first time in several decades, Delorey said.

A recent survey conducted by Smoke Free Nova Scotia suggested 95 per cent of young Nova Scotians who vape said they preferred flavoured juices – and 48% of those surveyed said they would quit if flavours were banned.

A 2016-17 survey suggested 37% of Nova Scotia students in grades 7 to 12 had tried vaping at least once – one of the highest rates in Canada.

Delorey said the province plans to roll out a public education campaign and more vaping legislation next year. Under Nova Scotia’s current law, e-cigarette products cannot be sold to anyone under 19.

Delorey wouldn’t tip his hand on what further restrictive steps would be included in new legislation, but said he has taken notice of what’s being done in other provinces. He said it’s also important that any potential changes align with steps taken at the federal level.

“It doesn’t make sense to duplicate the legislative and regulatory framework between the federal and provincial jurisdictions, so what’s being done at the federal level will have some influence and impact on what we decide to do here provincially,” he said.

Also on Thursday, Ontario’s health minister said her province is also considering a ban on flavoured vaping products. Ontario has already said it would ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations beginning next month.

“We do know there is more to be done so we are taking a look at the flavoured vapes,” Christine Elliott said. “We are looking at the nicotine content in vapes. We are looking at where vaping products should be sold … we will be taking more steps, absolutely.”

Ontario Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the province should follow Nova Scotia’s example and ban flavoured vaping products.

“Given the number of teens vaping now that’s becoming a huge issue and we need to stop that,” he said.

New restrictions on vaping were recently adopted in Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The P.E.I. government passed legislation last month that sets the highest age limit in the country, raising the legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21.

The legislation also bans certain flavours of e-cigarettes and restricts where the products can be sold.

In British Columbia, a 10-point plan is aimed at protecting youth from the health risks of vaping, including legislation that would boost the provincial sales tax on such products from seven per cent to 20 per cent.

Earlier this week, Newfoundland and Labrador banned the introduction of cannabis vape products when pot consumables go on sale later this month.

In November, several health advocacy groups called on the Nova Scotia government to take urgent action to curb what they called a youth vaping epidemic.

Kelly Cull, of the Canadian Cancer Society, called Thursday’s move an “excellent first step.”

She said she’d like to see upcoming legislation raise the minimum age to 21, restrict where e-cigarette products can be sold, cap nicotine levels, and ban online sales.

Robert MacDonald, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, said the province should also consider taxation as a means to reduce vaping.

“We’ve seen that in tobacco (and) it’s reduced rates,” said MacDonald.

In the United States, 47 deaths have been attributed to vaping, and 2,000 cases of severe lung disease have been reported.

Thirteen cases of vaping-associated lung illness had been reported in Canada as of Dec. 3. So far there have been no deaths.


New York City lawmakers vote to ban flavoured vaping products

New York City lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban flavoured electronic cigarettes after a lawsuit halted a statewide ban.

“We are acting to protect our kids by banning the e-cigarette flavours that have been hooking them for years,” Democratic City Council member Mark Levine said before the Council voted 42-2 to adopt the ban on flavoured vaping products.

Advocates for the vaping industry jeered and threw dollar bills from the balcony after the vote, and industry supporters said the ban will hamper efforts to curb smoking.

“All the New York City Council did today was make it harder for adult smokers to quit, shut down small businesses, and create a new black market that will inevitably lead to constitutional violations by the New York City Police Department,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said in a prepared statement.

The measure, which Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports, bans all e-cigarette and e-liquid flavours except tobacco. It is expected to take effect on July 1, 2020.

The legislation is likely to face a legal challenge. Spike Babaian, a vape shop owner and board member of the New York State Vaping Association, said the organization is “pursuing legal options.” A 90-day ban on the sale of most flavoured e-cigarettes that New York state health officials planned to start enforcing is currently held up after a state appeals court blocked that effort last month when vaping industry representatives sued.

Advocates for the e-cigarette industry say vaping products save lives by helping smokers quit.

Cheryl Richter, executive director of the New York State Vapor Association, said her group represents “hundreds of thousands of consumers who rely on vapour products to keep them from smoking cigarettes in New York.” She called the New York City bill “an overreaching infringement of their constitutional right to choose a product that improves their health.”

The move to ban flavoured e-cigarettes comes amid nationwide concern about the growth of teenage vaping and fears about health risks.

Republican President Donald Trump promised two months ago that he would ban most flavoured e-cigarettes but later backtracked. He said Friday that his administration would announce a plan to curb teen vaping “very soon.”

E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry despite little research on their long-term effects.

Researchers generally believe they are less harmful to smoke than cigarettes, which kill hundreds of thousands of Americans annually, and they were initially promoted as a way to help tobacco users switch to something less harmful. But like cigarettes, they contain nicotine and are highly addictive. Many of the people starting to use them are teenagers who never previously smoked.

Forty-seven deaths linked to vaping have been reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though most of those sickened said they vaped THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black market THC vaping products may be a culprit.

State lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a ban last week on the sale of flavoured vaping and tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. The ban now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who appears likely to sign it.

A ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes was omitted from the New York City legislation after lobbying by advocates including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has argued that a ban on menthol cigarettes could lead to harsh police enforcement in the black community.

 


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Juul halts U.S. sales of popular mint flavoured e cigarettes

Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt U.S. sales of its bestselling , mint-flavoured electronic cigarettes as it struggles to survive a nationwide backlash against vaping.

The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint.

“These results are unacceptable,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, adding in a statement that the company must “earn the trust of society.”

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.

Under fire for its alleged role in sparking the vaping craze among teens, Juul has made a series of concessions to try and weather a crackdown from local, state and federal officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavours in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too.

Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising its products. For years, Juul has argued that its e-cigarettes are intended to help adult smokers switch to a less harmful nicotine product. But its early marketing campaigns were mainly on social media and featured young, stylish models. The company subsequently shuttered its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

After halting mint sales, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavours. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other flavoured e-cigarettes have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users. Federal health officials are expected to soon release plans for removing most vaping flavours from the market, and Juul has said it will support and comply with that government policy.

In September, President Donald Trump said the flavour ban would include mint and menthol flavours. However, no details have yet been released, leading vaping opponents to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Representatives for those groups immediately criticized Juul for not also pulling its menthol flavour.

“If they really wanted to keep the kids away they would also get rid of menthol,” said Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “We hope the administration will understand that too _ they should be taking menthol off the market.”

Mint and menthol have often been treated interchangeably by vaping researchers.

But a new study released Monday suggests menthol doesn’t have the same appeal as mint. The study found that mint was the most popular flavour among Juul users in 10th and 12th grades and the second-most popular among middle-schoolers. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol. The study by University of Southern California researchers was based on a survey that included 1,800 Juul users.

Flavours have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol.

San Francisco-based Juul is the bestselling e-cigarette brand in the U.S. The privately held company has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juulusers who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products.

E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.


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Saskatchewan government introduces rules to ban vaping products for youth

Saskatchewan will be restricting the sale of vaping products such as e-cigarettes to people who are at least 18 years old.

Health Minister Jim Reiter has introduced amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to bring the products in line with existing tobacco legislation.

He says the changes will also prohibit the display of e-cigarettes in retail businesses where youth have access, restrict their use in and around public buildings such as schools and prohibit sales at amusement parks, arcades and theatres.

The amendments also restrict advertising of vaping products in the same manner as tobacco products.

The changes are to take effect in the spring.

The government says it believes the amendments will help lower the number of Saskatchewan youth using vaping products.

Anti-smoking groups say Saskatchewan’s decision means Alberta is the only province without legislation to control the consumption, sale and marketing of vaping products.

The Canadian Cancer Society is urging the Alberta government to move swiftly on new legislation to give Alberta children the chance to grow-up tobacco and nicotine-free.

“The rates of youth vaping have skyrocketed in the past few years and we are still waiting for effective legislation that will prevent tobacco and vaping companies from targeting youth,” Angeline Webb, a society spokeswoman, said in a release. “Protection delayed is protection denied.”

Health authorities across Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping.

Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.


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Ontario to ban promotion of vaping products in gas stations, convenience stores

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 9.16.36 AMOntario announced Friday it will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, a move critics said does not go far enough to protect the health of young people.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said she made the decision in response to new research that showed vaping is on the rise among youth in the province.

“That’s a big concern to me,” she said. “I know that is a big concern to parents and families and I’m concerned about the potential health effects the increase in vaping has brought forward so we are starting with this prohibition of advertising.”

Elliott said the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Ontario was set to ban the advertising of vaping products in convenience stores under the previous Liberal government but the Progressive Conservatives paused regulations that were to come into effect on July 1, 2018 shortly after they took office.

The province’s change of direction Friday comes as health authorities in Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping. In the U.S., health authorities have reported 1,604 cases of vaping-related illnesses, including 34 deaths.

No single ingredient, electronic cigarette or vaping device has been linked to all the illnesses in the U.S., but most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana.

Last month, Elliott issued a ministerial order to public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease.

“My responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of our young people and that’s why we’re moving forward now with this ban,” she said.

The province will still allow vaping to be promoted in specialty stores and cannabis shops, which are open to people aged 19 and older.

The government will make the change by amending a provincial regulation to bring it in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco promotion.

Ontario now joins seven other Canadian provinces that have introduced similar restrictions on vaping promotion.

A year ago, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco – which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation – asked the Ford government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.

The groups said at the time that it would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers, and on Friday its director applauded the move by the government.

“It’s pretty clear the government has looked at the evidence that has been published on youth vaping on how it’s growing in Ontario since they legalized promotion in retail settings,” Michael Perley said. “The evidence says they need to do more to stop messaging to young people … that these products are normal and just like candy and pop that kids go into convenience stores to look for.”

Perley praised the provincial ban as going further than current federal limits on advertising to youth, which he describe as too subjective. But he said the Tories should limit the sale of the vaping products to the hundreds of specialty shops which already exist across the province and have the expertise to help adult smokers.

“Smokers will get much better advice there than in a convenience store with line-ups and clerks who have never been trained on this issue,” he said.

NDP health critic Frances Gelinas said the Tories should never have paused the previous government’s bill to prohibit the practice.

“We’ve taken one tiny step,” she said. “But there are so many more steps that need to be taken to make sure that we don’t have this entire generation addicted to nicotine.”

Gelinas said the province should push forward with further reforms, including limiting flavours aimed at attracting children to vaping and limiting sales to specialty stores.

Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.

The president of the Vaping Industry Trade Association said the voice of that sector has not been heard by the Ford government and called the ban “disappointing”.

Daniel David said the ban will prevent smokers from becoming aware of an option that is less harmful than tobacco.

“We strongly support measures that will restrict youth access, however this must be balanced to ensure that adult smokers still have access to these products,” he said in a statement.


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Montreal to ban stores from dumping unsold food

Montreal is hoping to stop perfectly good food from ending up in landfills as part of a plan to significantly cut waste by targeting the source.

The city’s point person on the environment announced the proposed measures Thursday as part of a five-year master plan for waste management between 2020 and 2025.

Coun. Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, the executive committee member in charge of ecological transition, cited an urgency to act due to climate change and the fact that the city’s main dump is slated to shutter by 2029.

“The plan that we’re proposing today will enable us to achieve the ambitious targets that we set in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing residual material,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

It doesn’t make sense, she said, that perfectly consumable items end up in the trash while children and others go hungry.

“We will prohibit large grocery chains, educational institutions and hospitals from throwing away food they no longer think is fresh,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

Food waste is a widespread issue across the country: according to a study commissioned earlier this year by Toronto-based charity Second Harvest, one-third of Canada’s discarded food could be recovered.

Quebec already has a supermarket recovery program in place that some stores take part in, sending food to various shelters. Lavigne Lalonde said the city wants to work with the province to ensure such programs are expanded.

The move is the latest in Montreal’s attempts to reduce its waste–and by extension, its carbon footprint. In April, the city announced it would introduce a bylaw banning single-use items such as plastics and polystyrene foam containers by spring 2020–promising a slow transition to allow businesses to make the switch.

In 2018, it issued a ban on plastic bags that covers the distribution of lightweight bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as well as biodegradable bags, which contain an additive that causes them to decompose in heat and light.

Lavigne Lalonde said the goal is to make it easier for citizens to reduce their waste.

Parenteau said food sellers could be subject to yet-to-be determined fines if they violate the new rules.

He pointed to France, where laws obliges grocery stores to donate edible food and levies hefty fines if they don’t, but added in Montreal, that’s not the main goal of the law.

“The first goal is not to fine, but to change the mentality,” Parenteau said.

A public consultation will be held on the plan, but the city’s objectives are to divert up to 70% of residual waste away from landfills by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

In that time, the city wants to reduce the amount of waste produced by each Montrealer by 10% in 2025 and 20% in 2030–which works out to 10 kilograms per citizen per year.


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Convenience stores could benefit from e-cigarette ban, say analysts

A growing move to ban flavoured e-cigarettes due to health concerns particularly in youth could actually benefit convenience stores in the long run, say retail analysts.

“We believe the FDA’s plan to remove mint/menthol e-cig flavours (in addition to all other non- tobacco flavours) would without question encourage a return to combustible cigarettes,” Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities wrote in a report after conducting a survey of retailers.

A large majority of retailers surveyed believe the removal of e-cigarettes would migrate smokers to combustible cigarettes that represent a larger portion of convenience store sales.

One-third of retailers surveyed also expect mint and menthol smokers would switch to combustible cigarettes because those consumers tend to want to stick with menthol products.

Almost half of the retailers believe the removal of flavoured e-cigarettes won’t help to reduce youth usage as kids likely move to the black market. Yet some 40% of retailers say they are seeing some deceleration in Juul sales and nearly 20% are seeing more combustible cigarette sales as news reports increase about health issues with vaping.

Some U.S. states are moving to ban or curtail vaping but Herzog said she is “cautiously optimistic” that a complete ban on e-cigarette flavours will be imposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

In Canada, the country’s public health officer said last week at least three reports of potential vaping-related illnesses were being investigated.

Quebec health officials confirmed Friday the province’s first case of severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping. That followed a report from the Middlesex-London Health Unit that a teen from London, Ont., who was using e-cigarettes daily, suffered a severe case of pulmonary illness, the first confirmed case of vaping-related lung disease in Canada.

Herzoz added that 67% of retailers believe the removal of e-cigarette flavours would increase the competitive advantage of IQOS, a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative made by Philip Morris International that has received FDA premarket approval.

Even if e-cigarettes aren’t banned outright, large convenience store chains such as Alimentation Couche-Tard would be helped in the long-term by increased regulations of e-cigarettes because they have the ability to absorb the additional costs, wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Irene Nattel in a report.

“Given cost of compliance/administrative burden associated with regulated products…we’d expect chains with financial flexibility to gain share over time, not unlike what happened to breweries during the last century,” she wrote.

Tobacco represents about 38% of merchandise store sales at convenience stores and about 40.5% at Couche-Tard, Nattel said. However, electronic devices represent less than 25% of other tobacco products, which account for less than 20% of tobacco sales

Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch said that while these products aren’t currently “material” to its revenues, the Quebec-based retailer hopes they remain available for adults to give smokers “an avenue of lower risk as they pursue nicotine.”

The company only sells closed vaping systems that already contain liquid, instead of ones that allow consumers to use their own liquids.

“We know there’s demand there but if flavours are attracting children we’re OK with it going away,” he told The Canadian Press after its recent annual meeting. “It’s the right thing for society and we just want it to be done on a thoughtful fashion and based on facts.”