Like America, Canada has had a fairly complicated relationship with the vaping industry since it first became popular several years ago. Of course, like the rest of the world, Canada’s legislative body was hesitant to enforce certain regulations or make any claims regarding vaping’s effects until a fair amount of studies were performed in order to demonstrate how its effects compare to the ones associated with smoking. Now, however, plenty of studies have demonstrated what vaping does to the human body compared to cigarettes, leading to some pretty important decisions regarding its legal status in Canada.
The JUUL craze that has taken over America has also heavily influenced our northern neighbors, raising alarms very similar to the ones over here. Quickly, it became the country’s primary focus to create very clear laws about how vaping can be consumed, marketed and sold in order to prevent minors from having easy access to nicotine-containing vape products.
However, with these new laws came some pretty vape-friendly regulations. It’s clear that Canada isn’t following in our fearmongering footsteps, instead looking for ways to utilize the abundance of vape-positive research out there to educate citizens about the realistic potential effects of vaping.
Canada’s Vaping Laws
In May of 2018, Canada passed a milestone by creating clearly defined laws regarding the vaping industry and the ways in which its products can be sold. The Tobacco and Vaping Product Act was passed in order to unify the country’s vaping laws. Before the Tobacco and Vaping Product Act, there was quite a bit of confusion within the industry and among vape enthusiasts as, while vaping products were never explicitly considered illegal, they weren’t exactly considered legal either. As a result, the vaping industry in Canada was widely unregulated and many vaping businesses didn’t know where they stood.
Now, thanks to the Tobacco and Vaping Product Act, vaping products are considered legal regardless of their level of nicotine. If you scroll through the law’s literature, you’ll see that its main incentive is to enforce regulations that prevent teenagers from taking up vaping as a hobby as legislators feel that vaping may be a gateway to smoking, especially now that we have high-nicotine e-cigarette products like JUUL.
The law also states that vaping products will be subjected to the same regulation and manufacturing standards as all other tobacco products. Obviously, this includes making vaping products inaccessible to minors. It also means that vaping products can only be marketed in ways that are accessible to adults. Additionally, the marketing of flavors that may appeal to minors is heavily restricted. Many legislators fear that certain dessert and candy flavors especially appeal to children and teenagers, making vaping a far more attractive activity to minors.
How Vape Products Can be Marketed in Canada
After the Tobacco and Vaping Product Act passed, lawmakers decided that Health Canada (their version of the FDA) can determine how vaping products are marketed. Up until now, the Canadian vaping industry had no restrictions on the health claims that they could make regarding their products. Legislators fear that companies claiming that their products are “healthier” or “safer” than cigarettes may be misleading and may lead to more vaping among those who have no prior tobacco history.
In an effort to create a list of clear and fair regulations regarding the marketing of vaping products, Health Canada sifted through an abundance of vape-related research. This allowed them to determine the precise effects of vaping products on the body compared to the effects that cigarettes are known to cause. Therefore, Canada’s future rules regarding how these products can be marketed is thoroughly based on actual research rather than speculation and fear.
The marketing regulations that Health Canada came up with refer to the claims that vaping companies can legally make. Health Canada has suggested that vaping companies can say that:
If you’re a vaper living in America, you can probably agree that these regulations are extremely fair compared to the ones that we have here. What’s more important is that these regulations are based on clinical studies that back up these claims with scientific evidence.
As Canada belongs to the Commonwealth, it’s no surprise that Health Canada looked to England when researching vaping’s effects on the body. England, like quite a few countries in Europe, has largely embraced the vaping industry, believing that e-cigarettes and related products may act as extremely effective smoking cessation tools that can greatly reduce the risk of developing conditions associated with tobacco exposure.
England famously funded an incredibly thorough study regarding the potential risks associated with vaping compared to those associated with cigarettes. The study stated that vaping exposes users to 95 percent fewer toxic substances, making it, according to them, an objectively less harmful alternative. Because the study was funded by the government in order to gauge how vaping laws should be enforced, it led to extremely lax legislation that has allowed the vaping industry to thrive while giving smokers easy access to an alternative.
How Canada’s Vaping Laws and Regulations Compare with Those in the USA
While the Canadian government has used research to determine which regulations to enforce relating to the vaping industry, the United States, as you probably know, has not. The FDA doesn’t seem to distinguish between vaping and smoking, claiming simply that all tobacco products are unsafe. Currently, there aren’t many clear regulations regarding how vaping products can be manufactured, sold, consumed or marketed, and as we anticipate the next commissioner, we hope to see the FDA follow in Canada’s footsteps.
Is Canada Ahead of the Vaping Curve?
It’s clear that Canada, like England, believes that vaping is an industry worth supporting. Time will tell if America follows suit.