How do we achieve a smoke-free Canada, faster?
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (or TVPA for short), is the piece of legislation that governs the use of tobacco and vaping products in Canada. But it doesn't only govern their use– it also governs their labeling, sale, and promotion. It has a direct impact on Canadian consumers and their ability to access information about tobacco and vaping products.
Innovation can help current adult smokers by switching them from cigarettes to better technology, such as heated tobacco, vaping products, SNUS and nicotine pouches.
These alternatives are not risk free, they contain nicotine, which is addictive. But scientific evidence from around the world shows that there are different alternatives for adults now compared to continuing to smoke cigarettes.
These alternatives do not involve burning, and therefore can produce significantly lower levels of the harmful chemicals compared to those found in cigarette smoke, which are the primary cause of smoking-related diseases.
Regulations should be risk-proportionate and follow a common sense approach. Not all tobacco and nicotine products are the same. The most harmful products involving combustion and smoke – such as cigarettes – should be subject to the most restrictive regulations, and adult smokers should have access to accurate information to understand how smoke-free products are fundamentally different.
What is the role of government?
Quite simply, governments should not regulate these smoke-free alternatives the same as cigarettes because scientific evidence shows they are not the same.
There is an opportunity in front of us right now. The second review of the federal government’s Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) is currently underway. This provides an opportunity for a thorough review to ensure that regulations make sense for these new technologies.
And that includes guarding against youth taking up any form of nicotine. We are emphatic – our company believes that no nicotine or nicotine-containing product should ever be in the hands of minors. The same applies to adults that aren’t currently smoking or using other nicotine products.
There’s no doubt Canada can be a global leader in reducing the harm caused by smoking, but it requires actionable steps, such as creating policy that differentiates between smoke-free products and cigarettes.
Canadians are not well informed about the alternatives to smoking that are available because our current laws don’t allow them to have access to information about these options or to distinguish the relative risks of one product to another.
The federal government has started to acknowledge that not all nicotine products are the same as cigarettes, but further steps are needed.
Adult smokers should have access to different alternatives; by doing so, we can create lasting change.
Now is the time to modernize Canadian laws.
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