Taking Away Our Flavours...And Our Rights

Taking Away Our Flavours...And Our Rights

Roula Matar

For many of us former smokers, vaping was the ticket out of a life-time of addiction. Whether you were a pack a day smoker, or just a casual puffer, vaping for many of us was an easy way out. When I first started vaping, I was amazed and intrigued by the variety of flavours. I couldn’t wait till my tank was on empty so that I could refill it with a new and exciting flavour. I was out one night, and my vape had died. I took a drag of a cigarette and was instantly reminded of the horrible taste and smell. I couldn’t wait to get home and charge my vape so I could puff on the delicious juice, one that would leave me not smelling like death.

I’m sure many of us have had similar experiences. Being encountered with a cigarette in a moment of unpreparedness or even curiosity, and being met with the god-awful “taste” of that cigarette. It’s a huge reason most of us quit and don’t look back – the taste! Why taste tobacco, when you can opt for something better? Another big bonus of vaping is all the choices, whether you are into desserts or fruity flavours, there’s always something for everyone.

The Federal Government has had their eyes on the vape industry for a long time. The nicotine cap was a long-discussed proposition that eventually did go through. For many people who are just getting off cigarettes, 50mg is a great starting off point. However, putting a cap on nicotine is not something that would necessarily destroy the industry. With BOLD flavours, the industry has adapted by creating products that feel like 50mg, but are actually within the mandated nicotine cap of 20mg. Now, the Federal Government has shifted its focus from nicotine concentration, to flavours. This is being done in a bid to reduce the appeal of vaping to the youth. If the proposed flavour ban goes through, this means that the only flavours allowed to be sold will be menthol, mint and tobacco – flavours that already exist in cigarette form.

The proposed flavour ban would not only severely threaten the vape industry, shutting down thousands of vape shops and costing people their jobs and livelihoods, but it would also push hundreds of thousands of Canadians back into traditional cigarettes. This proposed flavour ban is the biggest threat to the Canadian industry we have seen thus far.

If someone were a recovering alcoholic, would you give them vodka flavoured juice? Simply put, no – this would risk placing the recovering alcoholic back in harm’s way. The same can be applied to this proposed flavour ban. It is worth mentioning, although obvious to many of us, that vaping is a cigarette cessation tool. This means that vaping is not recommended for people who never smoked cigarettes to begin with. This has always been a tool for harm reduction, one that has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians kick the habit for good.

We at vape4change support the initiatives of the government to keep vaping safe and in the hands of adults. However, a move like this is effectively removing the element of choice for the hundreds of thousands of adults who rely on vaping as a harm reduction tool. Many of us in the vape community are wondering, why flavours? If we are aiming to remove flavours for adults in order to protect our youth, why are liquor stores filled with flavoured alcohols with bright, colourful labels? Why aren’t we holding all industries to the same standard?

Simply put, this move seems senseless and lacking in thought. It is a move that is rooted in ignorance. The proof is in the pudding – smokers who quit using flavoured products are 2.5 times more likely to be successful. This proposed flavour ban has little sympathy or consideration for the health and lives of adult smokers who rely on vaping. If thousands of Canadians will be pushed to cigarettes, this is a potential death sentence for them.

The nicotine cap going through is a sure indication that flavours are next. The only thing we can do now is make our voices heard and take immediate action. Although 100,000 signatures were accumulated on the petition against the nicotine cap, Health Canada did not take these seriously as they were not considered unique submissions.

A new petition has been created by the Canadian Vaping Association to make it easy for vapers to make their voices heard. A template has been designed to make it as simple and fast as possible to collect our unique, individual experiences. What you fill out in the template will automatically be generated into a cohesive email which you can submit directly from the website. It is very easy to complete, and will not take more than 5 minutes.

The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated enough. Health Canada will only be accepting submission until September 2nd 2021 (16 days away from the time of writing). The target is to achieve at least 20,000 submissions. If this goes through, thousands of vape stores will be forced to shut down overnight. This is our time to stand up, and let the government know that it's not up to them to dictate what we vape. Be removing our choice to choose what we want to vape, they are infringing on our rights. Let’s work together to protect an industry that has made a positive impact in all of our lives. 

Click HERE, to access the easy-to-use email template. Once submitted, it will be sent to your member of parliament on your behalf.

Don’t forget to spread the word. Encourage other people who vape to make their voices heard! Remember, there is strength in numbers.

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