Regulation of Vaping Fluids

March 21, 2019

Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Further to questions and concerns raised by Senator Seidman about the rampant use of e-cigarettes in this country that some consider at epidemic levels, I’d like to focus on the liquid or the vaping fluid that is used in e-cigarettes.

Vaping fluid is now available in countless flavours. Many flavours in Canada are clearly targeting younger users, like bubblegum and cotton candy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just announced that it intends to dramatically reduce the available flavours in vaping fluid down to three: tobacco, mint and menthol.

Specifically, I was concerned to learn in a February 19 “Quirks & Quarks” episode on CBC that the flavours used in vaping fluids have been tested and approved for ingestion but not for inhalation. I was even more concerned when I learned about the particulate matter produced by these flavours that, when used in e-cigarettes, are linked to several serious respiratory illnesses, such as COPD.

Would the fact these flavours have not been proven safe for inhalation enable Health Canada to halt their use in vaping fluids in Canada?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

I thank the honourable senator for his question and I would first congratulate him on his choice of radio listening. The program is highly enlightening and popular.

I can report, and as is obvious from the legislation that this chamber dealt with, the government has shared the concerns that you expressed and that many Canadians, particularly parents, have with respect to vaping. As you know, we as a government took actions to protect youth by banning vaping products for those under 18, as well as prohibiting the promotion of certain flavours and restricting ads aimed at youth.

The government has also proposed further restrictions on vaping ads like billboards and launched a new public education campaign to inform our youth of vaping risks. The government also gave notice of intent to develop potential regulatory measures to reduce the impact of vaping products advertising on youth, with a focus on the placement of content of advertisements and other forms of retail promotion. This was published in the Canada Gazette, and the Government of Canada is seeking feedback from stakeholders and concerned citizens as part of that consultation process.

I will certainly bring to the attention of the minister your question and the concerns yet again expressed by members of this chamber.

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