Every other province has introduced or plans to introduce vaping legislation.
Legislation targeting vapor products and the vaping industry are commonplace, ranging from common-sense regulations such as restricting the sale of vapor products to minors, to outright prohibition such as San Francisco’s total ban on the sale of vapor products earlier this year. In Canada, nine provinces have passed or are planning to pass some form of vaping legislation, leaving one final holdout in the nation.
After Saskatchewan announced in late August it’s own plans to introduce vaping legislation in the fall, the province of Alberta was left as Canada’s lone province with no from of vaping regulation in place. Alberta’s existing nicotine control legislation does not explicitly address vaping or vapor products in any way.
Public health officials and anti-vaping activists have criticised the province for being slow to adopt even the most basic of regulations and are concerned a lack of regulation is leading to a rise in teen vaping. Alberta Health has stated they’re committed to developing regulations for vaping products as part of a review of the provinces tobacco and smoking legislation.
Being the last in the nation for anything tends to be a mark of shame for progressive legislators and officials. While lawmakers in Alberta have stated they’re committed to developing regulation, any specific plans or timelines have yet to be laid out.
Last In Nation
Alberta is now officially the last province in Canada to enact any sort of regulations surrounding vaping and vapor products. The province became last in the nation after Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter announced plans for vaping legislation to be introduced in October.
According to Alberta Health spokesperson Steve Buick, Health Minister Tyler Shandro is “committed to developing appropriate regulation of vaping and related products as part of a review of Alberta’s legislation on tobacco and smoking beginning in November.” Alberta’s current tobacco and smoking legislation, the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act (TSRA), does not explicitly address vaping or vapor products.
Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, said he had been urging provincial officials to introduce some sort of legislation for years. “Every single province except Alberta is moving in this direction or has already adopted legislation. So, it’s about time,” he said and noted one of the most important areas to consider in new regulations is the promotion and advertisement of vapor products targeting minors.
Juliet Guichon, an associate professor at the University of Calgary’s Cummings School of Medicine, suggests raising the legal age to purchase vapor products can help prevent teens from vaping. While officials have noted a review of the TRSA in November, there is no timeline for the review itself or when any potential legislation born from it would be proposed.
Facts About Vaping
Alberta lawmakers should review current research on vaping and listen to advice from public health experts, as simply regulating vaping the same as smoking may create a negative stigma against a major public health tool. A survey performed by Action on Smoking and Health disappointingly discovered only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with staggering 26% of respondents saying it’s just as bad if not worse.
The smoking epidemic is at an all-time high, with an estimated 38 million smokers in the United States and up to 1 billion smokers worldwide. Restricting access to vaping through misguided regulation may place this group further at risk by denying them proven reduced-harm alternatives to tobacco.
Vaping may be a vital tool in combating this epidemic, as there is a growing body of research to draw from which highlights the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. A study by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available today, performing better than any traditional form of cessation.
A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes compared to smokers. In addition, two separate studies performed by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Cancer Center found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Lawmakers and public health officials should ultimately look into current research surrounding the benefits and risks of vaping and regulate it independently of tobacco based on merit and public health concern. Simply regulating vaping the same as smoking is outright lazy legislation, and these lawmakers should be held accountable if they do so.
By drafting legislation treating the two similarly, officials may be creating a negative perception about vaping despite evidence proving its value as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. This, in turn, may prevent adult smokers from even considering a safer smoking cessation aid.
Albertan vapers need to voice their concerns to lawmakers and Alberta health about any prospective vaping legislation. It’s essential to be heard about the potential benefits of vaping, especially by sharing your own stories about how vaping has impacted your lives.
How has vaping impacted your life? Do you believe vaping and smoking should be regulated independently? Let us know in the comments below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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