TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2019 /CNW/ - The new Government of Canada needs to co-ordinate urgent action with the provinces for a national approach to vaping and new smoke-free technologies, one of Canada's leading tobacco companies said today.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH) called on Ottawa to establish a coalition to develop a national action plan to curb the appeal and access of vaping to youth while setting better regulations on smoke-free products to improve consumer safety, standards and communication for adults.
"Parents should know their teens - no matter where they live - are all protected in the same way," said Peter Luongo, managing director of RBH. "At the same time, the 4.5-million adult smokers need equal access to better alternatives to cigarettes."
Several provincial governments have started to act in response to the changing landscape for vaping in Canada.
Ontario has introduced regulatory changes to limit the promotion of vaping products at point-of-sale. Alberta has indicated it intends to implement a tax on vaping products in 2020 as part of a statutory review of their Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are also considering changes to provincial legislation and regulations as well.
"Without a national approach, a patchwork of different rules will leave some Canadians behind," said Luongo.
This smoke-free coalition should include national and provincial legislators and regulators, scientific and academic researchers, harm-reduction experts, health care professionals, retailers and industry.
Building on its 5-point "Unsmoke: Ideas for a Smoke-Free Canada" policy platform, RBH recommends Ottawa and the provinces:
Smoke-free technologies are not risk-free and are addictive but a growing body of scientific research around the world shows they are less harmful for current adult smokers who switch away from cigarettes.
Public Health England recently restated its long-standing position, based on independent expert evidence, that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Earlier this year the Food & Drug Administration authorized a heating tobacco technology for sale in the United States "in the protection of public interest" based on scientific evidence that it reduced both the volume and intensity of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Regulatory restrictions are contributing to low awareness among Canadians about the health risks of smoke-free alternatives relative to cigarettes, such as vaping or heating tobacco.
RBH recommends a priority for tobacco control policy across Canada should be to make information more selectively available for current adult smokers while keeping such products out of the hands of youth.
Quotes from Peter Luongo, managing director of RBH:
About Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., an affiliate of Philip Morris International Inc., is one of Canada's leading tobacco companies and employs nearly 800 people across the country with its headquarters in Toronto and a factory in Québec City. RBH is a certified Top Employer 2019 in Canada for excellence in employee conditions. For more information please visit rbhinc.ca and unsmoke.ca.
SOURCE Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.