THE U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported a significant increase in the use of vaping products by youth in the United States. As a result, the FDA has announced new measures to restrict youth access to vaping products and new restrictions on flavoured tobacco products.
(Using e-cigarettes is commonly referred to as vaping.)
While Canada has not seen a similar spike in the use of vaping products by youth, Health Canada is concerned and has been taking action. The most recent Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), which was released at the end of October, shows that the use of vaping products by youth in Canada is steady and well below levels being reported in the United States. But this is a rapidly evolving market with new products regularly being introduced into Canada, and so Health Canada is watching carefully.
Canada has already established a strong regulatory framework for vaping products, with a focus on preventing uptake by youth and non-smokers. On May 23, Canada passed into law the new Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA). The Act creates a national minimum age of access for vaping products of 18 years. It also includes significant restrictions on the promotion of vaping products, such as bans on:
- advertising that appeals to youth;
- lifestyle advertising;
- sponsorship promotion; and
- giveaways of vaping products or branded merchandise.
Additional restrictions under the TVPA are set to come into force on November 19. These include bans on:
- the sale and promotion of vaping products that make the product appealing to youth, such as interesting shapes or sounds;
- the promotion of certain flavours—like candy, desserts, or soft drinks—that may be appealing to youth; and
- product promotion by testimonials or endorsements.
The FDA has also announced its intention to prohibit the use of menthol in tobacco products, and a ban on flavoured cigars. Canada has already banned the use of additives, including flavours, in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars, and a total prohibition against the use of menthol in tobacco products comes into force on November 19, 2018.
Health Canada continues to carefully monitor the Canadian market for signs of an increase in the use of vaping products by youth.