Image via Health Cabin
For the first time in a while, the vape industry is seeing its first small win.
On February 4th, the Globe and Mail reported that the Ontario Provincial Government would be moving to ban flavoured vaping products from all convenience stores. Gas stations are being included in this as well. These retail environments would only be permitted to sell menthol and tobacco flavours, nothing else. None of these new proposed regulations would apply to licensed specialty vape stores, such as Vapours Canada. Although most of the vape industry believes it should be all products removed from these settings, we’ll take the win where we can get it. Having these devices out of gas stations and convenience will most definitely curb the youth vaping rates these governments continue to refer to. Let us explain why.
When it comes to gas stations and convenience stores, there is no age gate. By age gate, we refer to the fact that everyone and anyone is allowed in these environments. Whether it be you filling your gas tank and going inside to pay, or your child going to buy some snacks. These settings are open to everyone. Now, since anyone can go in these environments, we in the vape industry find it utterly wrong to allow the display and marketing of these devices where absolutely anyone could see them. Furthermore, the clerks selling these devices have absolutely zero knowledge of the laws behind them, let alone how they operate. I’ve met clerks who didn’t even know these devices contain nicotine, and often quite high amounts I might add. This is where youth are getting their hands on them.
To quote the Globe and Mail article, which is linked below, “Travis Kann, a spokesman for Ms. (Christine) Elliott, said the province is finalizing its new policies, and will “take a balanced approach that keeps Ontario children and youth safe while also avoiding fueling an underground market for unsafe vapour products.””
This. This is it. This is how the entire country should be attacking this issue. Good on you Ms. Elliott. Remove the products from easily accessible points, often accessed by youth, but allow the age gated retail settings (vape stores) to continue to sell these products safely so that adults who choose to use these products may continue. By banning absolutely everything across the board, you open the opportunity for an underground market to flourish. These products take education to use, not to mention extremely extensive knowledge to produce safely. Protocols have to be followed, daily cleanings of equipment, safe handling, etc. When it comes to producing things like e-liquid, there are no shortcuts. An underground market is, in its entirety, a shortcut.
Now, obviously there is always the people who oppose decisions like these. The CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA), Dave Bryans, stated that “these changes put the interests of specialty vape shops before those of convenience store retailers.” With all due respect Mr. Bryans, e-cigarettes are not the life blood of convenience stores and gas stations. These are retail stores that sell everything, and we highly doubt that by taking e-cigarettes out of the rotation that it will severely damage the ability to operate. Especially since you still sell copious amounts of cigarettes. The industry as a whole can see how us saying this is a smart move may look biased, but try to think about the facts we’re putting forth. Every single employee and employer of this industry agrees we must do everything we can to combat youth vaping, and this is a great way to start. If no changes are seen, then we continue to explore the options. There is no logic in jumping the gun, and making rational decisions to ban absolutely everything. Period.
All things considered, we’re happy with this decision and hope that the government actually follows through. This is a great start to addressing the youth vaping problem, and will be quite interesting to see the numbers six months after this ban comes into play. Most importantly, its an opportunity for us to show you that the vape industry and the people apart of it are not what the media and some governments make us out to be. If the numbers in youth drop after this ban, even while we continue to sell the products… well that outcome will speak for itself.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL ARTICLE: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-to-ban-flavoured-vaping-products-from-being-sold-in/?fbclid=IwAR0qmVB_f83M7_ZIMGci4Yrvy2zQGh9gJ_mADxdwrTdyh_vDIAASReUnOuQ