NO FLAVOR BAN | WHY A TOP ANTI-TOBACCO GROUP EMBRACES VAPING



it was a startling submission to the Senate Standing Committee hearing evidence on Canada's new federal baking regulations bill last five this mission delivered on the first day of testimony by the vanguard of the anti tobacco movement the non-smokers rights association set the tone for the entire five days of hearings to the surprise of many Lian SRA provided a thorough endorsement of vaping as a tool for harm reduction I made several key recommendations to improve the legislation recommendations which substantiate many of the concerns held by the vaping industry for over 40 years been on smokers rights association and its sister organization the smoking and health action foundation have been at the forefront of tobacco control efforts in Canada and around the world the NS are a pioneered the forceful campaigning that led to the first public smoking bylaws in cities from st. John's to Calgary as early as 1977 it played a critical role in the passage of the federal tobacco products Control Act in 1988 which included a ban on tobacco advertising and the nsarray also led the precedent-setting effort to institute graphic health warnings on cigarette packages which became the standard around the world the non-smokers rights association also leaves the effort on tobacco taxation and the push for plain packaging quite simply the NS RA is the mortal enemy of the tobacco industry and is responsible for big victories in the war to eradicate its deadly products with such a track record one might think that the non-smokers rights association would also oppose vaping as other nonprofit health organizations in Canada do the Canadian Lung Association Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation have each discouraged begging as a tool for harm reduction and frustrated industry efforts to communicate a positive message about vaping to the public over the past six months representatives from these three organizations have turned down repeated requests by reg watch to appear on this show joining us today for a deep dive into the regulatory issues around vaping in Canada is tip-up back senior policy analyst at the non-smokers rights association is back and colleague melody Tilson delivered the NSR a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs Science and Technology the sookie hearings on april 5th of this year health canada have stated that vaping products are likely less harmful alternative to tobacco use and this is incorrect although the extent to which vaping is less harmful in smoking remains a topic of spirited debate debate among scientists the evidence to date shows the e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes research also indicates that release that vaping is as risky of smoking may impede smokers from trying and regularly using e-cigarettes choosing to continue smoking instead well it is important for people to know that vaping products are not inherently safe to use it is equally important for smokers to know that less harmful choices exist the evidence is quite clear that you cigarettes are less harmful but as melody said the spirited debate is around the degree of less harm is it really 95 percent as we often hear I think I was just at a meeting with Health Canada and international experts were agreeing it's probably well the consensus is more in the 60 to 80% realm which gives a unparalleled opportunity to really make a difference in in this epidemic that we're facing nicotine replacement therapy is effective in certain cases when it's used with counseling etc there are barriers but you don't see groups forming organizations cheering around nicotine replacement therapy this is a totally different ballgame and I think you're right we still don't know all of the details around what's in the vape but I think we've got enough information that we we need to move on this lives are at stake TIPA thanks again for coming on the show please tell our viewers a little bit about the history behind the NSR a we started because secondhand smoke was in people's faces everywhere people could smoke anywhere and everywhere the smoking rate was high it was up near the 50% level at least for men and people were sick of it and so our organization started in 1974 to get secondhand smoke out of people's faces and today we've been really successful there's hardly any secondhand smoke in indoor environments and we even now have outdoor environments where secondhand smoke is not permitted we've broadened our work we very much focus on the source of the tobacco epidemic here in Canada which is the tobacco industry and so a lot of our work is focused on controlling the industry to control the epidemic if it sounds like the NRA has expanded its scope from just non-smokers to also include smokers as well exactly and our name doesn't accurately reflect what we do today and that is a project in progress so your organization is also concerned with helping smokers trying to quit most smokers want to quit they're desperate to quit they've tried many many times and so a lot of the things that we do around graphic health warnings taxation smoke-free spaces tobacco retail reform there's all sorts of things that help smokers gain control over their addictions and and can help them cut down or quit smoking and speaking of the quitting tip let's turn now to vaping based on your testimony at the soki hearings is it fair to say that the non-smokers rights association supports taping we absolutely support the legalization and the regulation of vaping products so it's been a decade essentially since the products have been available in Canada and Canadians deserve regulation for safety and for their health so when you buy a product that claims it has 18 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine we want to feel confident that that's what we're getting when we buy a product we want to be confident that it's in a childproof neener so that children won't be able to access it we want to be sure that any cigarette battery isn't going to explode and if it does explode we want to be sure that there are measures in place for the government to be able to recall the product and to be able to take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again and those are all things that are addressed in bill s5 so we absolutely support the measures that are going to improve the health for Canadians through the safety and manufacturing standards of vaping products so if I want to play now for our viewers a soundbite from your colleague melody Tilson at the Sookie hearings which I found quite revealing we believe that despite health canada's stated intention to balance risk with access bill s5 focuses disproportionately on the risks of vaping products without adequate consideration of the potential benefits health benefits and economic benefits of shifting large numbers of Canadians away from smoking smokers desperately need and how a right to reliable information about vaping products on which to make informed decisions as drafted bill s5 provides no assurance the regulations would require the provision of relative risk information which clearly runs counter to the goal of the tobacco and vaping products Act and I quote to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases to this end we have proposed a number of amendments that would permit and indeed require both companies and the government to provide accurate relative risk information it was this portion of the testimony that was the most astonishing to hear such a strong criticism of bill at five coming from such a prominent advocacy group yes so we were dismayed to see that the bill does appear to focus disproportionately on the risks without adequately considering and appreciating the huge benefits that that there are potentially for smokers in Canada we still have five million smokers many of whom want to quit and are looking for ways to do that when one looks in the bill there does seem to be a lot of focus on protection of youth and when it comes to access for adult smokers it's got to be more than just having access there has to be access to information and specifically relative risk information and that was one of our main concerns around bill f5 with the lack of ability of manufacturers and vape shops and and so forth to be able to make relative risk comments for consumers TIPA this prohibition on information regarding the relative risk of vaping versus smoking is one of the most concerning aspects of the bill now the NSR a proposed amendments to vilify that would allow for relative risk messaging and those amendments passed committee is this a win yeah it's significant it's a it's a big win and hopefully those amendments will stick because Canadians deserve information to be able to make informed choices that affect their health and as we've said to Health Canada we shouldn't have to wait until the science is absolutely clear that'll be decades from now and that will be too late so we can move now with the information that we have and can make statements and as more evidence emerges we can fine-tune our messages Canadians also shouldn't have to wait until these cigarettes are proven to be ineffective cessation device this isn't about cessation it's about choosing a less harmful alternative that many Canadians may decide they want to try and quit smoking with but for now it's good enough that it's less harmful and Canadians should be able to know through messaging from Health Canada and through limited statements that companies can make about their products if I as you know Health Canada is putting together an expert panel to periodically review the evidence on dating what kinds of relative risk statements do you think might get approved statements that are objective but also implicitly have a health aspect to them we might see statements such as no secondhand smoke no tar no tobacco no combustion and those those are helpful they're not they're not amazing but there are stars and then as Health Canada's expert panel gets underway and starts to consider more fulsome statements maybe we'll start to see statements permitted that that say things like vaping is not risk-free but vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco that would be a really important really helpful statement that could help people make choices that could potentially save their lives I mean tobacco is unparalleled in its danger for Canadians and for people around the world and so these are life-saving statements tip of the non-smokers rights association was the first Health Organization in Canada to put out a position statement on e-cigarettes and I was back in 2013 and it was quite there in what way is your position evolved over the past four years we have adjusted our positions lately so for example flavours would be one aspect we initially called for a ban on flavours given our experience with tobacco but as the evidence came forth and we understood better the role of flavorings particularly fruit and so forth we have nuanced air position and so we're not supportive of a full ban on flavours but we do call for restrictions on flavorings that overtly target youth such as candy and some of these other weird flavors that involve unicorns and things but you just said the nsarray does not toward a full ban on flavors but there's a lot of confusion on this issue in an interview with red watch Susie McDonald director-general at Health Canada said there is no flavor ban only name and marketing restrictions for certain categories yet at the Sookie hearing you made a contrary comment let's have a listen that understanding that it's not the names that would be change it's it's the inherent flavors so we're not against flavorings for – for nicotine products it's just ones that are overtly targeting children such as candy and dessert wouldn't be acceptable okay Peppa you're on the Reg watch hot seat now could you clarify for our viewers is there a ban on inherent flavours in bill s5 yes this was quite confusing and it's taken us a little while to clarify but we've come to understand that what we initially understood was incorrect and so yes as you pointed out through Susie MacDonald's input and Health Canada's clarification is that the flavours are not being banned it's the promotion of the flavours so far there's thousands of vapors across Canada sitting on the edge of their seat right now could you please repeat that point as we understand it as has been confirmed by Health Canada flavors are not banned by bill s5 bill s5 puts restrictions on promotion and advertising of certain flavors and there's a schedule at the back of the bill that covers those tip-off from your understanding why a flavor is important well as I've understood from reading the evidence of flavors really help cut the ties between tobacco smoking and vaping and so I've understood and in fact the gentleman who testified on the same day that our organization did said that many vapors start off with tobacco flavors and then quickly I guess as their sense of smell and taste start to return can't tolerate the flavor of tobacco and switched to fruit or other flavors so we recognized that flavors flavoring definitely a role to play and so it's good that they're not being banned by Health Canada well thanks Pippa inquisitions over for our final question let's switch gears I have to say that contrary to what we hear from most health groups talking with you today I get the sense that nicotine is not the enemy no nicotine isn't the enemy combustion is the enemy the industry that promotes cigarettes is the enemy not since the invention of the bonds back cigarette making machine in 1880 have the tobacco industry been so upturned these cigarettes are a disruptive technology so like the Bonsack cigarette making machines spelled the beginning of the end for the chewing tobacco industry east cigarettes I believe are the beginning of the end for the cigarette industry it is a game-changer well that's it for this edition of reg watch before you head off please like us on Facebook and don't forget to follow us on Twitter for Regulator watch com I'm Brooke sapper

16 Comments

  1. They call vaping an epidemic, what are they calling cigarettes?

  2. If taxation works at stopping a negative behavior why don't they tax promiscuous homosexuals. Wouldn't that stop the spread of hiv?

  3. To the NSRA, the tobacco control and all the other groups who seemingly fight against smoking. What would happen if people actually would stop smoking? Your whole existence is based on people continue to smoke. If people would stop, probably with the help of vaping, you would loose your funds, you would loose your job, you would even be in danger to loose your house, your fridge would be empty, your kids wouldn't have a school uniform… You are depending on people smoking. So how trustworthy are you actually???

  4. Why do they focus on the "degree" that vaping is less harmful than smoking? 95%, 80% or as recently stated 97-98%. Worldwide billions of people smoke and will probably die as a result of decades of smoking. Even it vaping would be – let's say 25% less harmful that smoking it would make a tremendous impact on public health in general. And we know by now that the degree is – at least – as high as 95%, probably more. Why do we even have this discussions? Formaldehyde, lead, Diacetyl, "exploding" batteries, second hand vapor (which we know doesn't exist),… 1 kg bananas contain the amount of Formaldehyde that equals over 40.000 draws from the atomizer of a vaping device. Diacetyl has never been proven to be the cause of pocorn lung – and it's prohibited in e-juice. Batteries don't"explode", they can gas out if handled incorrectly. But that's not limited to batteries in vaping devices – it can happen with any battery (smartphones, notebooks…). For all of this reasons: Why do we even have this discussions? Why does the media take so much pride in lying to the public, in spreading misinformation and building up fear and resentment among the misled people? Why is Gottlieb lying? I honestly don't get it. Except that the true cause for all this may really be money. And money only. But, having lost several family members due to lung cancer, that is very hard to take in.

  5. Im all for plain packaging i dont care for colorful childish wrappers but if they ban flavours cause they appeal to youths thats bullshit, adults like candy and dessert flavours as well. Maby these kids parents should be charged for allowing their kids to smoke or vape. Its the parents fault not vaping its self. Wont stop me ill just order from another country and thats no good for our economy. U wanna stop youths from smoking and or vaping then go after their parents for letting them do it. If your Under 19 and smoke or vape your the reason this is happening to this industry and i hope they stiffen laws against you using this and make it not worth the risk.

  6. I'm perfectly fine with banning marketing with cartoons, delicious candy and so on. I wouldn't mind just description in small print on the bottles and maybe pictures on the websites (where you have to be an adult to get in..)

  7. We can applaud the NSRA for how far they have come. However we still see a vicious slander against the industry that in fact does not target its flavours at children.

  8. this is a good video everyone should share it.

  9. And I applaud Pippa Beck (NSRA) for taking the time to be interviewed by Brent / Reg Watch and admitting the NRSA made mistakes but had the courage to make amendments, well done. Its not easy to say you were wrong….

  10. Excellent news for Canadians, well done Brent / Reg Watch, and at last some common sense.

  11. Yes there seems to be some confusion here between flavours and marketing. Most vapers wouldn't disagree that youth targeted advertising should be banned (along with brand infringements), but a flavour is NOT marketing. The name of a flavour and a products accurate statement of content is NOT marketing. Talk about marketing not the flavour. Make it illegal to have pictures of cartoons and copying of established brands on vape products but allow all flavours and the naming of them on the product. There is no problem having any kind of candy, fruit, desert or any other kind of flavour just don't have a teddy bear, unicorn, cartoon ect on the bottle.

  12. It's refreshing to witness members of any group listen to their opposition, learn and as a result, adjust their stance on an issue. Bravo to Pippa Beck for participating in the Regulator Watch interview. And thank you Brent for the information.
    (phew! great news)

  13. Great work Reg Watch

  14. Fantastic interview! What's going on in the United States now?

  15. Great video, as usual, Brent! Thanks! ☺

  16. Stunning and excellent news! Thank you Brent!

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