In a response to Health Canada filed this week, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is calling for stronger measures to prevent the promotion of vaping products to youth.
The agency is currently seeking feedback on the new regulations, released in late December.
The proposed regulations prohibit advertising of vaping in places where it will be “seen or heard” by young people but stop short of the CMA’s call for a total ban on vaping ads in public spaces, publications and broadcast media, with no exceptions.
The CMA says the proposed regulations provide the vaping industry with “too much latitude in their promotion activities”, pointing out that vaping advertising has succeeded in attracting more and more youth to vaping, even when the advertising was not directed at them.
“As the numbers of young people vaping continue to grow, and as more and more health risks come to light, the need for tighter regulation of vaping products is vital.” – Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president
Data from the 2018–2019 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS) indicates that 20% of students in grades 7 to 12 had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days — double the student usage reported in the 2016-2017 CSTADS survey.
The CMA’s response to Health Canada, submitted on Jan. 20, references the unknown health impacts of vaping, and reiterates its position that all health warnings for vaping products and devices should be similar to those required for tobacco packages.
The CMA also called on Health Canada to ban flavours and restrict the level of nicotine in vaping products, to help prevent youth dependence.
This January response to Health Canada is just one piece of the CMA’s growing policy work on vaping. Since March 2019, the CMA has made four submissions to the federal government on the advertising, packaging, labelling and potential health impacts of vaping.
“Canada’s physicians have seen first-hand the devastating effects of smoking, and until we understand more about the health impacts of vaping, we need to apply the same restrictions,” explains Dr. Buchman.