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B.C.’s new vaping rules a blow to c-stores

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The British Columbia government is moving ahead with regulations designed to making vaping less appealing for young people by restricting the availability of vaping products in convenience stores.

During a news conference last week, the province’s Health Minister Adrian Dix said the sale of flavoured nicotine vapour products will be restricted to adult-only shops: “We have the power to restrict flavours. Only tobacco flavours will be allowed.”

The proposed changes are expected to be fully in place by the end of summer and represent another blow to the convenience industry, which is grappling with similar restrictions in other provinces, including Ontario.

The Government of British Columbia’s regulations restricting the availability of vaping products in convenience stores, while allowing specialty vape shops and online retailers to continue to operate unchecked, will not address youth vaping, counters the Convenience Industry Council of Canada.

“All the available evidence shows that convenience stores outperform specialty retail shops in the responsible retailing of age-restricted products. Recent reports released by the Government of Canada show that 87% of convenience stores passed their mystery shopping tests, compared to the 20% of vape shops which passed,” says CICC president and CEO Anne Kothawala, noting that eight out of 10 vape shops failed mystery-shopping tests.

In addition, CICC points out that the largest study of its kind conducted in Canada, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) “2019 Drug use Among Ontario Students Report” found that convenience stores were ‘the least common source of vaping products for youth: Borrowing from a friend topped the list (53.7%), buying from a friend or someone else (11.2%), and purchasing from a specialty vape store (9.7%) were the top three sources, with convenience stores making up less than 1%. “This report confirms what we have been saying for months; convenience stores are not the source of vaping products for youth,” says Kothawala.

However, the backlash continues, with Health Canada earlier this month moving ahead with new rules banning the promotion of vaping products in places young people can access.

Calling nicotine a “public health hazard,” Dix did acknowledge the role vaping could play in helping adult smokers reduce risk. “Vaping is of course, for some people, harm reduction. And if you are a lifetime smoker, it can have that impact, it can reduce the harm from smoking…. But if you are a young person, if you are under 19, it is not harm reduction, it is just harm.”

A Canadian student tobacco, alcohol and drugs survey found youth vaping among students in grades 10-12 increased in B.C. from 11% in the 2014-15 school year to 39% last year. Across the country, the increase was from 9% to 29%.

Other changes introduced by the B.C. government include restricting the amount of nicotine in the pods and ensuring c-stores will only be allowed to sell vapour products in plain packaging with health warnings.

In a statement, the Canadian Cancer Society welcomed the announcement. “The high levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes are an important factor contributing to skyrocketing rates of youth vaping in Canada. It is hoped that the action by the B.C. government will prompt the federal government to establish the same maximum nicotine level for all of Canada.”

The CICC maintains the proposal to reduce nicotine concentrations could force adult customers of vaping products back to cigarettes.

“Our industry sales data shows that over 90% of adult smokers who switched from tobacco to a reduced risk vaping product chose a flavoured option with a nicotine concentration that matches that of a cigarette,” says Kothawala. “While we fully support any efforts to combat the increase in youth vaping, restricting the ability of convenience stores to offer the products our adult customers need to successfully quit smoking is not only misguided, it is dangerous public policy.”

Meanwhile, most of the changes, including the nicotine and flavouring regulations, will be immediately enforced in British Columbia, while remainder of the regulations will be implemented starting Sept. 15.

“There is still time for the B.C. government to implement policies that will actually work, but until the government addresses the true sources of youth access to vaping products from online retailers and vape shops that continually violate federal laws, they will not address the youth vaping issue and will fail to meet their harm reduction strategy,” says Kothawala.

  • with files from The Canadian Press

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Ban on vaping ads that can be seen by youth to take effect in August

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Ottawa’s new rules restricting the promotion of vaping products in places young people can access are set to come into effect next month.

Health Canada published regulations July 8 prohibiting vaping advertisements in public spaces where youth may be exposed to them.

The ban applies to all retail locations and online stores that sell e-cigarettes, except for adult-only establishments.

The measures are set to take effect on Aug. 7, while some point-of-sale regulations will be implemented on Sept. 6.

The move comes in response to mounting research to suggest that teen vaping is on the rise in Canada.

According to the 2018-2019 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 20 per cent of high school students said they used e-cigarettes in the last month, which is double the rate reported in 2016-2017.


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Ontario sticks with July 1 for new vaping rules

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Despite ongoing requests for an extension, Ontario is moving ahead with the July 1 deadline for new amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which brings with it more restrictive rules for c-store operators when it comes to the sale of vaping products.

These changes, part of the Government of Ontario’s efforts to curb youth vaping, were announced in January and were initially to come into play May 1. However, as governments and retailers dealt with the ramifications of COVID-19 on business and health, they were delayed until July 1.

The new amendments:

  • Restrict the sale of flavoured vapour products to specialty vape stores and licensed cannabis retail stores. C-stores can only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavoured vapour products;
  • Restrict the sale of vapour products with high nicotine concentrations (greater than 20 mg/ml) to specialty vape stores.

Both the Convenience Industry Council of Canada and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association were advocating to further delay the implementation of the new regulations, citing the efforts by c-store to adjust to the new normal of operating during the pandemic and the ongoing need for distancing. In an effort to comply with safety measures, many vendors are not visiting stores right now.

However, in a memo from Smoke Free Ontario addressed to industry stakeholders Monday, the Ministry of Health indicated it was going ahead with the July 1 deadline, while also making efforts to recognize the challenges.

“The government of Ontario is aware that COVID-19 is having an impact on the normal operation of businesses. Retailers that have been closed may require more time to adjust their business practices to comply with the new regulatory amendments,” Dianne Alexander, director Health Promotion and Prevention Policy and Programs Branch, Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Ministry of Health, wrote in the memo. “With these circumstances in mind, the Ministry has asked Public Health Unit (PHU) Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) inspectors to work with businesses to ensure compliance by first prioritizing education and raising awareness of the new requirements.”

“It doesn’t appear that the Ministry of Health or SFOA are considering an extension to vape regulations as requested by many groups, including the OCSA,” said president and CEO Dave Bryans, noting that while tobacco inspectors may show some leniency, past experience dictates this will not be for a long period of time. “I suggest a quick rationalization of flavours and strengths over the next two weeks to minimize exposure for the business, while awaiting credits for these products.”

As the government moves ahead with the new regulations, it says it has developed resources to help businesses understand the changes—these include a training guide for retailers and links to additional information on the Ministry’s website. C-stores are advised to contact their local PHU for information to access these tools.

CICC president and CEO Anne Kothawala is calling on the government to provide more clarification, especially when it comes to a drop-dead compliance date. She cites a lack of coordination and harmonization between already already busy PHUs and is concerned the lack of consistency in terms of enforcement will create an uneven playing field among retailers and manufacturers in different regions.

In addition, CICC maintains that convenience stores, which already sell age-restricted products, such as tobacco, alcohol and lottery, are in an ideal position to sell vapes and accessories.

“C-stores are being singled out with no factual basis,” Kothawala says, adding the new rules do little to address the youth vaping crisis and put more power in the hands of vape store operators. “In terms of age compliance and testing, we have the best track record.”

Officially, c-stores will have until July 1 to sell out or return to suppliers their existing inventory of higher nicotine and flavours that fall outside the new regulations.

Last week, the Federal Government announced it was postponing the enforcement of regulations regarding packaging of vape products in Canada to January 1, 2021 from July 1, 2020. The move gives the industry a clear deadline for compliance and time to make the necessary changes to its operations. It was expected that that Provincial Government would follow suit.

READ: Ottawa delays new vape packaging regulations.


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Ottawa delays new vape packaging regulations

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Ottawa is postponing the enforcement of regulations regarding packaging of vape products in Canada to January 1, 2021 from July 1, 2020.

In a statement, the Convenience Industry Council of Canada said that, since the start of the pandemic, it has been advocating for the pause of non-essential regulations: “Our key message to government is that the health and safety of our staff and customers would be compromised if we had to undertake extensive inventory changes. We are also reiterating that now is not the time to bring in new regulations that will take time away from the increased burden of complying with safety and sanitization procedures.”

In December 2019, Health Canada proposed to ban advertising of vaping products in spaces where young people can see them in a bid to rein in the rise of underage e-cigarette use.

Minister Patty Hajdu put forward new rules Dec. 19 designed to prohibit vaping promotion in specialty shops, businesses and online platforms frequented by youth.

She also outlined requirements that vaping packages feature health warnings and be child-resistant, as well as plans to place limits on nicotine content in vaping liquids to reduce the risk of accidental child poisoning.

The move followed several months of consultations examining measures to restrict advertising for e-cigarettes in the face of growing evidence that vaping has taken off among teens.

In June 2019, the Minister of Health launched public consultations on proposed regulations that would set out new and updated requirements for the labelling and containers of vaping products. The proposed Vaping Products Labelling and Packaging Regulations would require that all vaping substances be labelled with a list of ingredients. In addition, vaping products containing nicotine would be required to display a standardized nicotine concentration statement and a health warning about the addictiveness of nicotine.

The new rules would have come into effect next month. However, convenience industry, like many others, is in the midst of updating operating procedures and, in some cases, dealing with revenue hits in the face of COVID-19.

The delay gives those in the industry time to focus on the essential work of ensuring a safe retail environment with proper social distancing protocols in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

Industry lobbying Ontario for regulation extension

Ottawa’s announcement comes on the heels of Ontario’s Ministry of Health announcing in April it was hitting pause on a series of new vaping regulations that were to come into effect on May 1.

The implementation of the new regulations, which have far-reaching effects on the convenience sector, were delayed until July 1, with an eye on giving all parties time to make adjustments, while also dealing with the business impacts of COVID-19.

At the time, Dianne Alexander, director Health Promotion and Prevention Policy and Programs Branch, Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Ministry of Health, said: “The government understands that some of the proposed amendments would require certain businesses to remove inventory from their stores, which may involve contact with others. Providing more time to implement would allow owners and employees of affected businesses to practice physical distancing.”

However, as c-stores continue to adjust to the new normal and the need for distancing continues, the industry is lobbying to further delay the implementation of Ontario’s new regulations, which  would:

  • Restrict the retail sale of flavoured vapour products to Specialty Vape Stores and Cannabis Retail Stores, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavours.
  • Restrict the retail sale of high nicotine vapour products (>20mg/ml) to Specialty Vape Stores.

Unless a new agreement is reached, c-stores will have until July 1 to sell out or return to suppliers their existing inventory of higher nicotine and flavours that fall outside the new regulations.

Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates on this evolving situation.

UPDATE READ: Ontario agrees to delay enforcement of new vaping rules

With files from The Canadian Press.


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Alberta introduces legislation to regulate vaping, ban e cigarettes for minors

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Alberta has introduced new legislation on vaping that would include a ban on anyone under 18 from using e-cigarettes.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says there is mounting evidence on the health risks of vaping and statistics show more young people in Alberta are indulging.

“Strong action needs to be taken to address significant increases in youth vaping,” Shandro said Tuesday prior to introducing the bill in the house.

Shandro’s ministry says that in the last five years, vaping rates among high school students has risen to 30% from eight. It also says evidence continues to show health risks, including lung damage and nicotine poisoning.

Alberta is the only province without vaping legislation.

“No one fully knows yet all the health harms from vaping, but the recent emergence of vaping-associated lung illnesses and deaths is a warning,” said Shandro.

“Vaping is not a harmless behaviour without short- or long-term consequences.”

If the bill passes, there would be restrictions _ matching those in place for traditional tobacco products _ on displaying and promoting vaping products in stores. Speciality vape stores would be exempt.

The province said it does not intend to ban or restrict flavours for e-cigarettes, but the bill proposes cabinet be allowed to make such restrictions once the law is passed and proclaimed.

The legislation would also expand the list of places where traditional smoking and vaping would be banned _ adding playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard and bicycle parks, and public outdoor pools _ to further avoid exposing youth to products and second-hand smoke.

Vaping would also be banned in places where smoking is already forbidden, such as hospitals, post-secondary schools and stores where pharmacies are located.

If the bill passes, the new rules are expected to take effect sometime this fall.

The legislation follows a review of vaping that began last year. The government said 250 people were consulted and another 9,500 provided online comments.

NDP health critic David Shepherd said the legislation is necessary and sends the right message, but it could be improved.

Shepherd wants flavoured vaping products sold only in age-restricted specialty stores.

“We know that flavouring is a way of attracting young users,” said Shepherd.

The issues of flavoured products remains up for debate.

Nova Scotia recently banned the sale of flavoured vaping products. Prince Edward Island has indicated it plans to do the same.

In B.C., the sale of vape flavours will only be allowed in age-restricted shops.

Alberta joins the majority of other provinces and territories in Canada that have set 18 as the minimum age for buying and using tobacco and vaping products.

P.E.I. recently raised the minimum age to 21.

 

 


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Nova Scotia sets tough maximum nicotine level for vaping products

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Nova Scotia has approved a new regulatory cap on e-liquids and cigarettes making it the first province to adopt a maximum nicotine concentration of 20 milligrams per millilitre.

An order in council signed in May amends the province’s Tobacco Access Act regulations and takes effect Sept. 1.

The move follows an amendment passed in March that banned flavoured vaping products.

The Canadian Cancer Society says Nova Scotia’s maximum nicotine level is the same standard that has been in place in the 28-country European Union for some years.

In an email, the provincial Health Department says the regulatory changes will enhance efforts to protect youth from the harms of nicotine by reducing their exposure to highly addictive concentrations.

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.

In a news release, the Canadian Cancer Society noted a recent study by University of Waterloo researchers that found youth vaping among 16-19 year-olds in Canada more than doubled over a two-year period, from 2017 to 2019.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that youth vaping increased from 8.4% in 2017 to 17.8% in 2019 – a 112% increase.

“This dramatic increase in youth vaping has been after tobacco companies entered the Canadian market for e-cigarettes following legalization of e-cigarettes with nicotine in May 2018,” the cancer society said.

It also noted that last November, British Columbia announced it would adopt a regulation for a maximum nicotine level of 20 milligrams per millilitre. The regulation is yet to be adopted.

The Quebec and federal governments have also said that they are considering the measure.

A vaping industry group said that the Nova Scotia government’s move would “make it harder for heavy smokers to quit and do little to combat access by youth.

“The result is that smokers may stay smoking, vapers may go back to smoking or vapers may try to obtain higher nicotine and flavoured products from the illicit market or from other provinces,” the Vaping Industry Trade Association said in a statement.

 


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Ontario’s new vaping regulations kick in July 1

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C-stores across the province are preparing for new amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which brings with it more restrictive rules for operators when it comes to the sale of vaping products.

The following regulations come into effect July 1, 2020:

  • The sale of flavoured vapour products will be restricted to specialty vape stores and licensed cannabis retail stores. C-stores  can only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavoured vapour products;
  • The sale of vapour products with high nicotine concentrations (greater than 20 mg/ml) will be restricted to specialty vape stores.

These changes are part of the Government of Ontario’s efforts to curb youth vaping and were initially to come into play May 1, but as governments and retailers dealt with the ramifications of COVID-19 on business and healthy, it was delayed until next month.

READ: Ontario delays new vaping regulations

Regarding the delay, Dianne Alexander, director Health Promotion and Prevention Policy and Programs Branch, Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Ministry of Health, said at the time: “The government understands that some of the proposed amendments would require certain businesses to remove inventory from their stores, which may involve contact with others. Providing more time to implement would allow owners and employees of affected businesses to practice physical distancing.”

While industry leaders welcomed the extension, it is largely felt the new rules are an unfair blow to the convenience industry. It’s argued that the convenience sector has a proven track record selling age-restricted products and the move instead puts more power in the hands of unregulated vape shops.

The one caveat is specialty vape stores will no longer be permitted to have indoor displays and promotions that are visible from outside their stores.

Meanwhile, c-stores will have until July 1 to sell out or return to suppliers their existing inventory of higher nicotine and flavours that fall outside the new regulations.


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Ontario delays new vaping regulations

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Ontario’s Ministry of Health is hitting pause on a series of new vaping regulations that were to come into effect on May 1.

The implementation of the new regulations, which have far-reaching effects on the convenience sector, will now be delayed until July 1, giving all parties time to make adjustments while also dealing with the business impacts of COVID-19.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 4.29.11 PM“We commend the Ontario government for listening to our concerns regarding the May 1st deadline to remove vaping products from our stores which was not feasible or in the public interest,” says Anne Kothawala, president & CEO of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada. “Major inventory operations, like pulling vape products from our stores, require employees and third-party representatives to meet, travel and have contact with each other all which would have run contrary to guidelines requiring social distancing.”

In a statement, Dianne Alexander, director Health Promotion and Prevention Policy and Programs Branch, Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Ministry of Health, said: “The government understands that some of the proposed amendments would require certain businesses to remove inventory from their stores, which may involve contact with others. Providing more time to implement would allow owners and employees of affected businesses to practice physical distancing.”

Among the regulatory amendments under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, the following rules are considered a blow to the convenience industry:

  • Restricting the retail sale of flavoured vapour products to Specialty Vape Stores and Cannabis Retail Stores, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavours.
  • Restricting the retail sale of high nicotine vapour products (>20mg/ml) to Specialty Vape Stores.

C-stores will have until July 1 to sell out or return to suppliers their existing inventory of higher nicotine and flavours that fall outside the new regulations.

While the industry welcomes the extension, they are critical of the province’s overall decision, which puts more power in the hands of unregulated vape shops.

At the time of the announcement, Health Minister Christine Elliott unveiled a number of measures, which were presented as an effort to curb youth vaping.

“As we learned more about the alarming increase in youth vaping, one thing has become abundantly clear: we need to do more,” Elliott said, citing recent studies suggesting use of vaping products among young people surged 74% in the past year. “Indeed, the early evidence is quite concerning.”

However, industry associations are “disappointed” in the strategy, saying the efforts are misguided and do little to address the youth vaping crisis. The consensus is convenience stores, which already sell age-restricted products, such as tobacco, alcohol and lottery, are in an ideal position to sell vapes and accessories.

READ: Industry reacts to Ontario’s proposed vaping regulations 

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 4.28.54 PM“The entire vape consultation has not been well thought out,” says Ontario Convenience Stores Association CEO Dave Bryans. “Any person buying cigarettes must come into a convenience store and they would purchase their brands in different strengths like light, low tar etc. If they are thinking about moving to a safer alternative, like a vape product… then they should have the option to choose one of the three flavours in the strength of nicotine they are accustomed to. Failing this they will most likely continue to smoke and we don’t see everyday tobacco customers sourcing out a vape shop. The vape shop consumer is a flavour addict using fruity flavours and can option for any strength they desire in tanks or specialty units. C-store customers want to have a pod in a easy-to-use format, not the complications of what a vape store offers.”

The OCSA says it will continue pushing the government to allow for three strength levels of nicotine.

“There may be a marginal number of customers morphing to the vape shops, but I see more of a new black market of flavours from all over the world being available online to everyone,” adds Bryans. “Today, and even with the present legislation, no one has considered the online sales issue, nor have there been any strict age testing requirements at the door to verify the purchaser being over 19.”

While both the CICC and OCSA vow to continue discussions with the government, for the moment c-store operators should start planning around the July 1 deadline.

“Independents should start rationalizing slower moving brands and start educating their customers of the potential changes,” says Bryans, who recommends operators work with suppliers to mitigate the change. “They also still have the option to call their MPP and speak out about this unfairness and potentially sending tobacco smokers to another unproven channel with no track record.”

“At a more appropriate time, CICC will continue to express our concerns about the proposed vaping regulations which will fail to solve the problem of youth vaping,” says Kothawala, “But right now, we will continue to focus on our vitally important role to ensure that Canadians are well supplied with their daily needs during this crisis.”


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Industry reacts to Ontario’s proposed vaping regulations

Move called a blow to c-store operators

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Industry associations at the national and provincial levels are up in arms over Ontario’s new plan to restricting the sale of flavoured vapes and e-cigarettes in convenience stores.

Last week, Health Minister Christine Elliott unveiled a number of measures designed to curb youth vaping (READ: It’s official: Ontario to ban flavoured vapes). The proposed rules, which are expected to come into effect May 1, include restricting the sale of flavoured vape products to specialty vape and cannabis retail stores (products with menthol, mint and tobacco are to be exempt). In addition, vapour products with nicotine levels higher than 20 milligrams will be limited to specialty stores, which are supposed to only serve customers 19 and older.

“As we learned more about the alarming increase in youth vaping, one thing has become abundantly clear: we need to do more,” Elliott said, citing recent studies suggesting use of vaping products among young people surged 74% in the past year. Indeed, the early evidence is quite concerning.”

However, industry associations say the efforts are misguided and fail to address the youth vaping crisis. In addition, the consensus is convenience stores, which already sell age-restricted products, such as tobacco, alcohol and lottery, are in an ideal position to sell vapes and accessories.

Despite having no evidence to suggest that youth are accessing vape products from convenience stores, the government is discriminating against them while allowing specialty vape shops and online retailers to continue to operate unchecked, says Anne Kothawala, president and CEO of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada. “Convenience stores are regulated, experienced and trusted, yet the government is handing a monopoly to vape shops that have flouted the law for years. In Ontario, we pass mystery-shopping tests at a rate of over 96%. In addition, 87% of convenience stores passed Health Canada compliance tests while 80% of vape shops failed.”

Kothawala pointed to a recent study—”2019 Drug use Among Ontario Students Report”—from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), which shows that convenience stores are not a significant source of vaping products for youth (READ: C-stores not a major source for youth vaping: Study).

“This government promised that it would make evidence-based decisions but are instead favouring appearance over substance which will have no effect on youth vaping,” said Kothawala.
In addition, studies show that many adults use vaping products to wean themselves off of tobacco products. Kothawala noted that the proposal to reduce nicotine concentrations would force many of these adult vapers back to cigarettes. “Our industry sales data shows that 80% of adult smokers who switched from tobacco to a reduced risk product chose a flavoured option with a nicotine concentration that matches that of a cigarette. While we fully support any efforts to combat the increase in youth vaping, restricting the ability of convenience stores to offer the products that our adult customers need to successfully quit smoking is not only misguided, it is dangerous public policy.”

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association also came out swinging, unleashing a firestorm on Twitter criticizing the government’s decision. “The world of vaping needs to be controlled like tobacco as it is a nicotine delivery product. Every store selling vape needs the same consistent rules on age testing, handling, authorized adult flavours & strict penalties. Not different stores with different rules.”

OCSA president Dave Bryans also spoke to the issue during his remarks at The Convenience U CARWACS Show on March 3, saying retailers should be “outraged” and that the association will continue to work with the province to shape vaping regulations that are more fair to the convenience industry.

The Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association (OKBA), which operates www.saveourstores.ca, said in a release it is “bewildered and extremely disappointed” by the province’s decision, calling it another “blow” to the reputation and bottom line of the convenience industry.

“Our members have been responsibly selling e-cigarettes and vaping products for many years and we work closely with our members to ensure minors cannot buy them in our stores,” said Kenny Shim, OKBA spokesperson and King Street West storeowner. “If government is truly concerned about vaping, they are targeting the wrong retail outlet in convenience stores. To think minors aren’t purchasing from vape shops is extremely naïve…. Our members were excited when the Ford government was elected in 2018. We didn’t expect this government to follow the previous Liberal government’s habit of picking winners and losers. What happened to, Open for Business??”

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 in June 2018. However, under increasing pressure to address youth vaping in the wake of growing health concerns, on January 1, Ford’s government banned the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations.

In addition to the latest regulations, Elliott, who stopped short of implementing a provincial tax on the products, suggested the federal government should consider doing so: “We know that young people are more price sensitive than other consumers. Higher prices would also further deter youth who have never smoked from trying vapour products in the first place.”

Industry associations are calling on all levels of the government to consider the evidence and work closely with the convenience industry before moving ahead with any decisions.

“There is still time to implement policies that will work. But until the government addresses online sales and vape shops, the policies that have been proposed will not meet the outcomes that the government is suggesting they will,” said Kothawala. “The convenience industry has a plan that will actually address the issue of youth vaping and we encourage government to work with us to get this right.”

With files from Canadian Press.


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Cross Canada vaping regulations update: March

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Several provinces and territories have taken steps to curb the use of vaping products among youth.

Here is a list of the measures they’ve put in place:

BRITISH COLUMBIA

The B.C. government introduced a 10-point plan in November 2019 that includes cutting nicotine content in vapour pods, restricting flavours aimed at young people, increasing taxes and supporting youth-led anti-vaping campaigns. The plan also includes requiring health warnings on packaging and prevents advertising in areas where youth spend time, including bus shelters and community parks. The government said the new regulations will take effect in the spring of 2020. The province has set a 20% tax on vaping products.

ALBERTA

The province announced a 20% tax on vaping products in February in a bid to curb the practice among youth. It has not announced any other legislation to address vaping, however, some of its municipalities have bylaws that restrict e-cigarette use in public places. The province’s health minister, Tyler Shandro, has also asked for a review of tobacco and smoking legislation, with a focus on regulating vaping, as soon as this fall. The government says the review will help it develop strategies to protect Albertans from the harms of vaping, tobacco and tobacco-like products, and assess the effectiveness of current legislation.

SASKATCHEWAN

The Saskatchewan government has passed amendments to its Tobacco Control Act to bring regulation of vaping in line with existing tobacco legislation. The new rules will restrict the sale of vaping products to people 18 and older and prohibit the promotion of such products in businesses frequented by young people, such as arcades, theatres and amusement parks. The use of vape products will also be restricted in and around public buildings, including schools and school grounds.

MANITOBA

The Manitoba government’s Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Act prohibits vaping by people under the age of 18. It also bans vaping in indoor public places like schools, libraries, hospitals, malls, restaurants and indoor workplaces. The province’s ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products covers e-cigarettes as well.

ONTARIO

Ontario has announced plans to restrict the sale of flavoured vapes and high nicotine e-cigarettes to specialty stores. On Jan. 1, it banned the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations.

QUEBEC

The sale and supply of vape products to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, and photo ID is required to buy such products. Their use of vapingproducts is prohibited wherever tobacco smoking is banned. Electronic cigarette advertising _ except ads in newspapers or magazines that have an adult readership of not less than 85% _ is prohibited, as is the display of e-cigarettes in stores accessible to people under age 18. However, adding flavours to the liquids used in e-cigarettes remains legal, whereas it is not for tobacco products.

NEW BRUNSWICK

New Brunswick bans the sale of e-cigarettes and e-juices to people under age 19, and no one under that age is allowed to enter a vape shop unless accompanied by an adult. Outdoor advertising by vape shops is prohibited and promotional material inside the shops cannot be viewed from the outside. Restrictions on promotional materials that apply to tobacco in other retail shops also apply to e-cigarettes. The sale of flavoured tobacco, including menthol, is also banned in New Brunswick.

NOVA SCOTIA

Health Minister Randy Delorey has announced the province will ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices as of April 1, 2020. Nova Scotia banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 in 2015. Vaping is also prohibited in any venue where tobacco smoking is banned, and vape shops are not allowed to display e-cigarette ads outside their businesses.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

The P.E.I. legislature passed a bill in November raising the legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21 _ the highest age limit in the country. The legislation also bans certain flavours of e-cigarettes. E-cigarette sales are already banned wherever tobacco sales are prohibited. Vape shops are not allowed to display e-cigarette devices in a way that makes them visible from outside the premises. Vaping or product sampling in retail outlets is prohibited, as it is in a public place or workplace. Any advertising that is misleading regarding the characteristics, health effects and health hazards of vaping products is also illegal.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

The province bans the sale of vaping products to people under age 19. Sales of such products are also prohibited wherever tobacco sales are banned, and promotional materials for vaping products cannot be visible inside or outside the shop where they’re sold. Vape shops are allowed to operate in the province providing they only sell vapour products.

YUKON

Yukon does not currently have any laws dealing with vaping. However, a bill was introduced in its legislature in October that would, if passed, set the minimum age for buying vape products at 19 and prohibit the display or advertising of such products.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

The Smoking Control and Reduction Act was passed in August 2019. The rule changes would regulate the sale, display and advertising of vape products and the substances used in e-cigarettes. It would prohibit the use of these products by people under the age of 19 and ban the sale of food items that are designed to resemble vape (and tobacco) products. The sale of vape products at locations such as schools, hospitals, pools and recreational facilities would also be banned.

NUNAVUT

Current regulations only dictate where people can vape, but the territory’s chief medical officer of health has said amendments to the territory’s Tobacco Control Act to put stricter restrictions on vaping will likely be implemented sometime this year2. Dr. Michael Patterson said the new rules would likely mirror tobacco regulations, which ban flavoured tobacco and flashy packaging aimed at enticing young people.