The Canadian Vaping Association: Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control continues to deny the science on vaping
BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, June 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control issued a release advocating for the implementation of a flavour ban and a nicotine ceiling in Quebec. The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) cautions the Government of Quebec, that while these measures are well intentioned, they will result in increased smoking rates and harm public health.
For decades, governments around the world have relied on quit smoking hotlines, online resources, and low efficacy cessation products to end the tobacco pandemic. Despite limited success with this model, it continues to be the ‘right way’ to quit smoking. Vaping could be the greatest harm reduction product of our lifetime if it weren’t for unfounded fears and the misinformation surrounding vaping.
“Quitting smoking is very difficult and there is no right way to quit. Smokers who manage to quit, should be commended on their achievement, regardless of the method used. The CVA supports the use of all quit aids. However, the current tobacco control strategy ignores the reality of quitting smoking. On average, smokers make 30 attempts to quit and only 7% are successful. Public Health England recently declared vaping to be more effective than all leading nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products and has reaffirmed that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. If Canada is to meet its goal of 5% smoking prevalence by 2035, the current tobacco control strategy needs an overhaul,” said John Xydous, Regional Chair of the CVA.
More than 90,000 Canadians have emailed their Member of Parliament, stating the importance of flavours for quitting smoking. The testimony of vapers is further validated by Yale researchers, who found that adults who quit using a flavoured product were 2.5 times more likely to be successful quitting smoking. The study concludes, “While proposed flavour bans are well-intentioned, they have disastrous outcomes. Legislation on vaping flavours must take the facts of smoking cessation and harm reduction into account, and we urge legislators against the widespread implementation of such bans.”
Additionally, there is little evidence to suggest that banning flavours would reduce youth experimentation. The idea that flavours are a primary influence for youth vaping is a common misconception that has been discredited by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC report, “Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and Highschool Students”, 77.7% of young people indicated that they vape for reasons other than “because e-cigarettes are available in flavours, such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate.” The most common reason for use among youth was, “I was curious about them.”
Recently, The Youth and Young Adult Vaping Project survey results were published. Flavours were not listed as a primary influence for youth and young adults in Canada. Respondents indicated that peers, followed by the desire to quit smoking and social media exposure were the primary motivators. Flavours continue to be scapegoated long after the data has found they are not driving youth use.
The QCTC’s recommendations are not routed in science. The arguments to support their recommendations have all been debunked. Vaping is proven to be both effective for quitting smoking and 95% less harmful. Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control claims that vaping acts as a gateway to smoking, but the data suggests vaping is a gateway out of smoking. If vaping truly increased youth’s likelihood of smoking, we would have seen an increase in smoking prevalence among the young adults who were teenagers at the peak of vaping prevalence among youth. Yet, smoking rates continue to decline among all age demographics.
In QCTC’s release, Madame Doucas states, “One should not have to choose between prevention for young people and cessation for adult smokers.” The CVA agrees that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, we can balance youth protection with adult harm reduction. Canada has already implemented strong regulation to protect youth, but it has lacked consistent enforcement. Banning flavours will do little to protect youth and instead will push thousands of vapers back to smoking. Restricting flavours and high nicotine vape products to age restricted specialty stores eliminates legal access points for youth. Effective regulation should seek to restrict access and increased enforcement, while maintaining reasonable access for adult harm reduction.