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Australia could learn a lot from Canadian vaping laws

Posted on October 11, 2018

Canada passed laws to legalise and regulate vaping in May 2018. The new framework provides a sound basis for future Australian regulation.

The Canadian approach encourages uptake by adult smokers while restricting access to young people. According to the National Law Review:

'Canada’s modernized approach seeks to strike a balance between the goals of restricting access to tobacco and vaping products for minors, while allowing adult smokers to access vaping products and less harmful alternatives to traditional tobacco products'.

Like the UK and New Zealand, Canada has introduced a 'dual pathway' model of consumer and therapeutic (medicinal) categories:

Consumer products

Most vaping products will be readily accessible as consumer products, managed under a variety of Acts (TVPA, NSHA, CCPSA). Product regulations will include:

  • Prohibition of sales to minors
  • Restricted advertising and promotion
  • Restriction of some flavours which may appeal to minors
  • Quality and safety controls
  • Labelling requirements; warning labels
  • Recalls of faulty products
  • Child-resistant containers and packaging

Products making therapeutic claims

Vaping products that wish to make a therapeutic claim, such as 'this product can help you quit smoking', will be regulated as drugs under the Foods and Drugs Act. These products will be subjected to a higher standard of assessment.

Further regulations will be introduced to address health and safety risks posed by vaping products. Currently there are no regulations specific to vaping products.

Promotional claims

It is important to communicate accurately the health benefits of vaping compared to smoking. These sensible statements have been suggested and are under review:

  1. If you are a smoker, switching completely to vaping is a much less harmful option;
  2. While vaping products emit toxic substances, the amount is significantly lower than in tobacco smoke;
  3. By switching completely to vaping products, smokers are exposed to a small fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke;
  4. Switching completely from combustible tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes significantly reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxic and cancer-causing substances;
  5. Completely replacing your cigarette with a vaping product will significantly reduce your exposure to numerous toxic and cancer-causing substances;
  6. Switching completely from smoking to e-cigarettes will reduce harms to your health; and
  7. Completely replacing your cigarette with an e-cigarette will reduce harms to your health.

Click here for more about Canada's position on vaping and the legislation involved.

Canada’s New Regulatory Framework for Vaping Products. The National Law Review

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