May 4, 2023
Hon. Judith G. Seidman: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
In June 2021, Health Canada made a proposal for regulatory changes to vaping flavours, and opened a consultation for input. In their press release, Health Canada noted:
Research shows that flavoured vaping products are highly appealing to youth, and that youth are especially susceptible to the negative effects of nicotine — including altered brain development, which can cause challenges with memory and concentration.
Data from the 2021 Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey shows that fruit flavours are the most used flavours among young people aged 15 to 19.
In a post published on March 12, 2023, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada lamented:
More than 600 days after federal officials last gave any sign that they intend to finalize these regulations, it now seems prudent to conclude that the flavour ban has been left to die on the vine.
Senator Gold, has the federal government simply given up on banning flavoured vaping products?
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The short answer is that I don’t know the current status of this, and I will make inquiries.
One can happily celebrate the decrease, and it’s a marked one, of people of all ages — but certainly young people — smoking or burning tobacco to inhale it. One should be — and is — concerned about the rise in nicotine-infused vape products, along with the addiction that inevitably entails.
I’ll make inquiries, senator. I hope to have an answer as quickly as I can.
Senator Seidman: There’s a lot of evidence to show that vaping is a gateway to smoking tobacco, burning tobacco and cigarettes. It is a cause for concern. We have some of the highest rates of vaping among youth in this country.
My supplementary is as follows: On Tuesday, Australia introduced reforms that toughen their already strict vaping law. The country has banned all disposable vapes. Prescriptions will be necessary for the vaping products that remain legal.
My home province — and your home province — of Quebec is also acting. In April, it followed Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories in banning flavoured vaping products.
Senator Gold, youth vaping rates doubled between 2017 and 2019. The government has the data, and now it needs to act. When — specifically — will the government finally act to ban flavoured vaping products?
Senator Gold: Thank you for the additional information. My answer remains the same: I’ll have to look into it.