Quebec proposes new ban on vaping, industry associations react in big way

Read the open letter from the CICC and comments from the CVA.
Daniel Reale-Chin
Associate Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
Daniel Reale-Chin, a young man with a beard, smiles at the camera

Quebec's Health Minitser Christian Dubé is seeking new regulation to prohibit the sale of flavoured vaping products. Dube announced the new regulation earlier this week, along with details of the proposed amendment in the Wednesday Gazette Officielle du Quebec

The new regulations would alter the Tobacco Control Act, and seeks to prohibit the sale and distribution of "a tobacco product containing a flavour or aroma other than tobacco flavour, electronic cigarettes or any other such device, including any other such device, including their components and accessories. 

Beyond the flavour ban, the Gazette also proposes:

  • a volume limit of 2 millilitres on prefilled devices and a limit of 30mL on refill containers
  • restriction on tobacco concentrations to 20 milligrams per mL 
  • and to prohibit the use of any form, appearance or function that may be attractive to minors, including products that come in toy, food, animal or character shapes

This is the latest in Quebec's reforms on the vaping industry. The government reports that the number of high school students who reported vaping in the last 30 days rose by more than 5 times between 2013 and 2019: up to 21% from 4%. This follows a proposed vape tax in Quebec, announced in February. 

[Read more: "Vape tax in Quebec could boost black-market, increase smoking rates: CVA"]

The Government of Quebec originally announced its intention to ban the sale of flavoured vape products in c-stores late in 2020, following similar bans in multiple provinces including Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation told CTV News that the new regulation is "excellent news", and Kevin Bilodeau, director of government relations, Quebec, at Heart and Stroke Foundation said "More than a quarter of young people started smoking cigarettes after they started vaping because they are addicted to nicotine," adding, "Nine out of ten young people say flavours are an important reason why they started vaping and the same number say it's an important reason why they continue to do so." 

But the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) says that Quebec's proposed plan will harm the province's economy and weaken youth protection. In an April 19 release, the CVA said it was "aggrieved by the proposed regulations which have come after the association and industry advocates clearly outlined the negative consequences of such policy to the Government of Quebec."

Among those negative consequences, the CVA outlined thousands of job losses for those working in vape stores and closures. The CVA went on to say that flavour ban violates the constitutional rights of vulnerable Quebecers to access effective harm reduction products that are crucial to enabling them to manage addiction. 

The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) has also been a vocal advocate against flavoured-vape bans. The CICC, which makes recommendations to the government on behalf of Canada's convenience retail industry, published an open letter to Quebec's government.

In the letter, CICC's vice-president, Michel Gadbois, states that the Government is assuming that youth are accessing vape products through c-stores, despite data from Health Canada that shows that 88% of youth who vape are getting their products through friends and online sales, among other channels. 

Read the open letter below:

open letter from the CICC
open letter from the CICC
CICC open letter
CICC open letter
CICC open letter
CICC open letter
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