Health Canada’s new rules target vaping ‘Wild West’ – National | globalnews.ca

Health Canada will soon have a clearer look into the haze of Canadian vaping habits as new reporting requirements for retailers and manufacturers aim to address what some are calling a Wild West.

Under new regulations passed in June, companies now must submit semi-annual sales data and ingredient lists to Health Canada, with the first reports expected later this year. The main goals of these reports are to better understand which vaping products are popular, especially among young people, and to identify the specific ingredients that users are inhaling.

The vaping landscape in Canada has been a bit of a Wild West for some time, if you will, said Sarah Butson, a policy analyst at the Canadian Lung Association.

It’s really vital that Health Canada has these regulations in place to get a sense of the scope of products available in terms of sales, but also in terms of ingredients.

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The first ingredient and sales reports are expected on December 31st for all Canadian vape retailers and manufacturers.

The new regulations come after vaping and related health issues have been in the news for the past few years.


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Will Quebec ban flavored vapes?


A 2015 Harvard study found that the flavoring chemical, diacetyl, was found in over 75 percent of e-liquids tested. This chemical was linked to the chronic lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans better known as popcorn lung.

The revelation caused international headlines after a Canadian teenager who vaped developed similar symptoms in 2019, although a 2021 Health Canada study found diacetyl in two vape liquid samples out of more than 800 sold in Canada that were examined.

Diacetyl was used to make the buttery flavor in microwave popcorn, and the condition was linked to the chemical in 2000 when factory workers developed lung disease.

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For some in the vaping industry, however, the new rules are raising concerns.

Daniel Marien is the director of VITA, a trade organization for the Canadian vape industry and owner of the Quebec-based LA Vape Shop. He says industry representatives expect to have a technical briefing with Health Canada on exactly how these new regulations will impact their operations.

The biggest concern, he said, is whether the full ingredient lists of the vape juices and flavors will be made public.

Marien says this could put intellectual property at risk.

Well, it’s the trade secret of my business that’s on the line here because my recipes, if I don’t have an NDA protecting my recipes, I really wouldn’t be keen on giving them away, she said.

Why for example, [Coca-Cola] they will never give out their secret recipe if it is shared with the public. So it’s the same thing for here, right?

Marien said she doubts international flavor distributors will be keen to share their ingredient lists for the same reason.


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Health Canada says the Dec. 31 deadline should give manufacturers enough time to gather all the necessary information about ingredients. The agency adds that it needs comprehensive ingredient lists to get a better understanding of potential health impacts.

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As for what ingredient information will be shared publicly, Health Canada says this is still under study.

Addiction and Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett told a news conference on Monday that it’s important to recognize that vaping can be a tool to help people quit smoking, but that there’s still more for young Canadians to do .

We actually need to be able to base our policies on actually trying to address the education and prevention aspects of youth vaping, he added.

Bennett says he believes they should be able to address the issue by working with the vaping industry and Health Canada on how ingredient reporting is handled in the pharmaceutical industry.

Vaping as a youth epidemic

Curbing rates of tobacco use and vaping is a long-standing goal of health officials.

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The most recent Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey (CNTS) shows that vaping is most popular among Canadians aged 24 and younger.

Butson says the Canadian Lung Association has been tracking an increase in young people kicking the habit since it became legal to add vaping products in 2018.

Since that time, we’ve really seen what we would call a youth epidemic, he said.

So that’s been one of our primary concerns, is the number of people who traditionally wouldn’t use tobacco products that are actually processing and using vape products.

According to the survey, approximately 53% of those who have recently vaped in the last 30 days say they use fruit flavors more often.

Of the 13 provinces and territories, six have imposed restrictions on flavored vaping products: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and most recently Quebec. But there is no blanket federal restriction in place.


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Concerns about teen vaping


Marien said he estimates the majority of his customer base is over 35, with many vaping as a substitute for smoking.

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Smoking cessation is the most commonly reported reason for vaping, however the CNTS found stress relief to be the most common reason for 15-19 year olds, while enjoyment ranks first among 20-24 year olds years.

Health Canada said it hopes the collection of sales data can help them better understand trends in what customers are buying and use that data to inform future tobacco control measures.

Similar reporting requirements are in place for tobacco products, but those regulations do not apply to vaping products. Cannabis vaporizers are not included in these new rules, as they are governed by the Cannabis Act.

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