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Classified in: Health
Subjects: PSF, AVO, CPG, MAT

Ontario vaping regulations would punish responsible convenience retailers and do little to prevent youth usage

Health Canada mystery shop checks show an 83 per cent failure rate among vape shops, yet Ontario set to reward these retailers

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2020 /CNW/ - New vaping regulations from Ontario's Ministry of Health, if unchanged, will harm law-abiding convenience stores, make it harder for smokers to access what Health Canada says are less harmful alternatives to cigarettes, let non-compliant vape shop owners off-the-hook, and likely fail to accomplish the important public health goal of preventing the sale of vaping products to minors.

"Ontario's family run convenience stores are strong partners of the Ontario government and their support of small business. It makes no sense that the Ministry of Health has decided to rush forward regulations that amount to red tape, and won't achieve the government's public health goals ? all done in secret and without consultation." said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. 

The new Ontario regulations, if implemented, would prevent convenience stores from retailing flavours and the nicotine strengths most likely to help adult smokers who are looking for an alternative to tobacco products. Vape shops would face no similar restrictions.

"We have supported the government's restrictions on in-store promotion of vaping products and share the government's desire to tackle underage vaping." said Bryans, "But they're punishing law-abiding small business owners who are doing a good job at keeping these products from youth, while doing little to focus on where Health Canada's mystery shops have shown the problem really lies."

Health Canada recently informed the industry that between July and December 2019, it conducted over 3,000 vaping regulation compliance inspections, looking at almost 1,100 vape shops and 2,100 convenience stores. The compliance checks showed there was a high trend of regulatory non-compliance, with 83 per cent of vape shops failing inspection (e.g. carrying flavours appealing to young people), compared to 13 per cent of convenience stores. Health Canada also noted that it seized over 80,000 units of illegal product in this period.

"Why are the retailers who are the best at compliance and at keeping these age-restricted products away from youth, once again bearing the burden?" added Bryans. "Ontario's own compliance checks show that for the last year available (2018), 19,679 mystery shopping tests were conducted by public health units in support of the Smoke Free Ontario Act (SFOA), and convenience stores were found to be 96.2 per cent successful at denying sales to those under 19." 

About OCSA

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents the interests of 6,000 independent and small regional chain Ontario convenience stores committed to responsible community retailing. The convenience store industry represents $13 billion in sales annually in Ontario and employs over 69,000 people. More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.    

SOURCE Ontario Convenience Stores Association

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