Flavoured vaping ban slammed during bus tour

Vaping proponents hold a demonstration on Howard Ave in Windsor on September 2, 2021. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

A group hoping that a ban on flavoured vaping products goes up in smoke brought its cause to Windsor Thursday.

Rights 4 Vapers, a grassroots group dedicated to helping vapers make informed decisions about the practice, brought its bus tour to a vaping supply business on Howard Avenue, followed by a scheduled stop later in the afternoon in east Windsor. The purpose was to call attention to the efforts of Health Canada to restrict the sale of flavoured vaping products, except tobacco, menthol, and mint.

Spokesperson Maria Papaioannoy-Duic said with an election campaign ongoing, it was a good time to ask parliamentary candidates to listen to science and discourage a flavour ban.

“Tobacco harm reduction needs to be recognized by all the political parties, and we’re not going to stand back and continue to be marginalized, because of our addiction,” said Papaioannoy-Duic.

Rights 4 Vapers has pointed out that the likelihood of relative harm by vaping only is at six per cent, compared to 100 per cent for smoking only and 85 per cent for smoking and vaping together. Papaioannoy-Duic said if Health Canada is successful in pushing through a flavoured vaping ban, it could lead to over a million Canadians who dumped the cigarettes to return to tobacco smoking.

Health Canada allows people objecting to a proposed policy to send in a submission. In this case, vapers describe how their health has improved from vaping after a long time of tobacco smoking. Papaioannoy-Duic said over 24,000 people across the country have sent in submissions, and she felt it was time federal health officials took notice.

“We’re done,” said Papaioannoy-Duic. “We’re done with being systemically excluded from the conversation. If Health Canada listened to the over 24,000 Canadians who said ‘You need to save our flavours’, this would not be happening.”

Health Canada said that by limiting flavours on vaping products, young people would be encouraged to take up vaping while youth smoking is on the decline.

“Flavours other than tobacco, as well as the presence of sugars and sweeteners, are associated with increased product appeal, decreased perception of harm, and increased intention to try or use these products,” read a report from Health Canada. “The proposed measures would leave some flavour options for adults who smoke and wish to transition or have transitioned to vaping, which is a less harmful source of nicotine than cigarettes for those who switch completely to vaping.”