The Tobacco and Smoking Act has squandered Nunavut’s chance to quickly reduce smoking rates

Beamsville, ON, June 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On May 18th, Nunavut passed the Tobacco and Smoking Act which will ban the sale of flavoured vaping products. The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is alarmed by the territory’s decision to reduce the appeal and efficacy of vape products, considering Nunavut has the highest smoking rates in Canada. Currently, 74% of adults and 51% of youth smoke, a smoking rate 4 times the national average.

High tobacco use prevalence has caused Nunavut to have the highest rates of lung cancer in Canada. Tobacco use in Nunavut remains a health crisis, with 1 in 5 deaths caused by smoking. It is evident that traditional tobacco control strategies have failed.

Vaping is widely recognised as less harmful than traditional smoking. Its efficacy has also been supported by numerous studies, most notably the Cochrane review, which found vaping to be 70% more effective than leading nicotine replacement therapy products (patches, gums, etc). Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy and are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Public Health England (PHE) has also recognised vaping’s efficacy in a recent release, which states that vaping is the most effective stop smoking aid with success rates of 59.7 – 74% when paired with stop smoking services.

Vaping’s superior efficacy for quitting smoking is in part due to the customizability of the product. Flavour restrictions will eliminate 95% of the current product offering and severely limit the efficacy and attractiveness of the product for current smokers. The void in the market will undoubtably increase black-market sales. This puts youth at increased risk as illicit sellers won’t verify age and are not subject to any quality standards. Youth smoking rates may also increase as found recently by the Yale School of Public Health Study, which tracked an increase in youth smoking rates following the flavour ban in San Francisco.

 “The CVA is saddened by the territory’s decision to ban flavours. An opportunity to reduce smoking rates faster than previously thought possible has been squandered. While the legislation was well intentioned, prohibition has never worked. The result of the ban will be increased smoking rates and a flood of potentially dangerous illicit products. We implore Nunavut to repeal the flavour ban and work with industry to create a better framework to protect youth,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA.

Darryl Tempest
The Canadian Vaping Association 
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