Proposed Prohibition Purportedly Prevents Youth Usage
The current chaos caused by the coronavirus crisis has captivated the world and fundamentally upended our once firm sense of normalcy, whatever that may have been. While many officials are focused on mitigating the potential lives lost and impact caused by the crisis, others are focused on advancing personal agendas instead.
Alberta has announced new anti-vaping legislation that would include a ban on anyone under the age of 18 from using, purchasing, or possessing vapor products. The proposed prohibition would align Alberta with Canada’s other provinces in ensuring regulatory parity between vapor and tobacco products.
Albertan teens are currently prohibited from vaping under the federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act. Amendments to the provinces own Tobacco and Smoking Reduction act would align Alberta with other Candian regions as well as the federal government.
While anti-vaping activists admit that they are happy with the steps the government has taken, they ultimately need to do more to truly cut down on teenage vaping. They believe that anything short of complete prohibition is an ineffective policy and a risk to children.
Notably, a provision to prohibit the sale of flavored vapor products was ultimately shelved after feedback from the public, health officials, and business leaders. Concerns that a lack of access may increase smoking rates and possibly create a black market for flavored products were key elements in its omission.
In Alberta, officials announced Bill 19, a partial prohibition on vaping that would ban those under 18 from the purchase, possession, or usage of vapor products. The prohibitive policy aligns Alberta with Canada’s other provinces, as well as the federal government.
In addition to the ban against youth use, Bill 19 would restrict the display, advertisement, and promotion of vapor products, as well as expand what constitutes smoke and vape-free areas. Additional public spaces where vaping would be prohibited include hospitals, playgrounds, school properties, sports fields, skate parks, zoos, outdoor theaters, as well as outdoor pools.
Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, stated his anti-vaping activist group was pleased with the progress the bill provides but is ultimately disappointed in the omission of a provision that would have prohibited flavor vapor products as well. The requirment was ultimately struck down following an outpouring of feedback from business leaders and the Albertan vaping community.
The government has called this a mutually beneficial compromise, balancing the benefits vaping provides to adult smokers with the need to restrict youth access to vapor products. Some have questioned the timing of the legislative proposal, noting the same officials tasked with the drafting, review, and implementation of the legislation are the same officials tasked with managing the provinces pandemic response.
Facts About Vaping
Public health scholars and harm reduction experts have repeatedly warned against the potential risks and ramifications of flavor bans, especially those enacted following hysteria. In an article published in the journal Science, a group of respected public health experts banded together to speak out against blanket bans on vaping, noting no evidence that vaping is harmful, as well as the risk of forcing people back toward tobacco or the black market.
Despite repeated claims of a so-called teen vaping epidemic by lawmakers and anti-vaping activists, research from the NYU School of Global Public Health found that most teens don’t actually vape. In fact, the study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, discovered that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and the few that do are not daily users.
As these public health scholars also noted, there is a wealth of research highlighting the effectiveness of vaping in helping to aid smoking cessation. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping was more effective than other nicotine-replacement therapies in helping adults quit smoking and remain tobacco-free.
Vaping has not only been repeatedly demonstrated to be an effective smoking cessation aid, but multiple studies have shown vaping to be significantly less harmful than smoking as well. In fact, research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Alberta’s proposed prohibition represents a prime example of the flawed reasoning behind these bans. Determined teens have never been deterred by restrictions against them, as evidenced by the rates of tobacco and alcohol usage by youth. Creating restrictions against vaping only risks restricting access for adults, rather than genuinely protecting teens.
While the current incarnation of Bill 19 still allows access for responsible adults, its passage represents the slippery slope prohibition provides. How long until an additional amendment is proposed that either partially or completely prohibits vaping within the province?
What are your thoughts regarding Alberta’s proposed vaping ban? How do you think this will impact vapers and the industry within the province moving forward? We would love to know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest and greatest vaping news and reviews.
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