Moderated by Rob Schwartz, the executive director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit and a Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the webinar discussed theory, evidence, and options for policies that prevent youth access to vaping products. The possible regulations discussed included: age limits, retail licensing, enforcement, outlet density, and also social sources specific to Canada.
The webinar also analyzed the results of an internet test shop study. The aim of the study, as well as the discussions, was to provide an understanding of the existing context of youth access to e-cigarettes in Canada, examine the evidence available for a range of policy options, and discussing the feasibility and effectivity of implementing such policies across Canada.
Canada’s positive numbers
Meanwhile, in a recent press release, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) highlighted that given that local youth vaping rates are already on the decline, a flavour ban recently proposed by the Canadian Government would be unnecessary, and counterproductive.
Based on evidence from previous studies, tobacco harm reduction and public health experts have long been pointing out that in response to flavour bans, and other harsh restrictions, most vapers tend to switch back to smoking. In fact, multiple studies have indicated that it is thanks to such products that smoking rates are decreasing in most countries.
The Canadian Tobacco and Vaping Survey, 2020, found that youth vaping has already declined since 2019, and youth daily vaping is at 4.7%, therefore the proposed flavour ban is unnecessary.
Moreover, a recent Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey has indicated that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 40% drop in smoking rates in this specific age group, from 13.3% to 8%. This figure is encouraging for Health Canada’s no smoking target (5% by 2035) and this 5% target rate has already been achieved among those aged 15-19.