In going after corner stores and flavours, Ontario isn't looking at the evidence
TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2020 /CNW/ - Ontario has made a major misstep in banning vape flavours from being sold in convenience and corner stores. This short-sighted action will not tackle underage vaping, but it will make it less likely that adult smokers will try vaping, which Health Canada says is less harmful than smoking.
"If this government wants to tackle youth vaping, they should look at the evidence," said Alan Jackson, General Manager of JTI Canada.
According to Government of Canada data, youth who vape, or have tried vaping, are not generally acquiring vapes through convenience and corner stores. They are primarily getting these products from "social sources," including older siblings or friends, shady online sellers and grey-market retailers.1
"Convenience and corner stores have a proven track record of refusing the sale of age-restricted products to minors," said Jackson. In Ontario, 19,679 mystery shopper checks in 2018 revealed that convenience and corner stores refuse the sale of age-restricted products 96.2 per cent of the time.2
Meanwhile, hundreds of websites offer vape pods and liquids in a wide array of illegal flavours without ever checking a single ID. And in 2019, Health Canada audited 1,000 vape retailers and found 80 per cent of specialty vape shops to be breaking Canada's federal vaping laws, with the selling of illegal flavours among the most common violations. This begs the question: why is Ontario going after flavours in corner stores when the real fight is online and in vape shops? "We should be requiring stricter enforcement of online sales and a two-step online age verification procedure that confirms a customer's age at purchase and again on delivery. This should be coupled with a restriction on online bulk sales to ensure vaping products are not purchased in quantities that would facilitate resale." Jackson added that these are steps JTI has already voluntarily taken, but to see meaningful results we need governments to ensure everyone is doing their part.
If you want smokers to move into potentially reduced risk alternatives, you need to make those alternatives widely available. That means selling vapes, in appropriate, federally permitted flavours, at the same place where smokers are buying their cigarettes: gas stations and corner stores.
Time for Ontario to see the logic. Banning flavours in corner stores won't stop youth vaping. It will only make it less likely that adult smokers try vaping and drive more vapers to the illicit, unregulated market.
Visit seethelogic.ca/Ontario to send a message to your MPP.
JTI Canada Tech Inc. is part of JTI, a leading international tobacco and vaping company with operations in more than 130 countries. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, JTI employs over 45,000 people and was awarded Global Top Employer for the sixth consecutive year. JTI is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies. For more information, visit https://logicvapes.ca or www.jti.com.
SOURCE JTI Canada Tech Inc.