Guest blog from our friend Marion Burt
Dear Ms Gelinas,
I was quite surprised to read that you have reintroduced a rather dangerous anti-vaping bill in the House. When I met you at the Committee hearings for a similar bill in 2015, you congratulated me on being able to quit smoking by switching to vaping, and I had the impression that you listened to my experiences and my reasons for opposing many of that bill’s provisions.
Almost seven years later, I am still smoke-free due to vaping. I still enjoy a wide variety of fruit, candy and dessert flavours. I frequent the dedicated vape stores that refuse to sell to minors, keep their windows covered, advise and assist adult smokers in making the switch to a much safer alternative, and pay their taxes. They did all of these things even before the federal and provincial governments imposed laws making them mandatory.
They also removed indication on eliquid bottles of the flavours of the eliquid, eliminated some of the flavour names that added to my decidedly adult (senior citizen, actually!) pleasure in vaping, stopped hosting any social events that gave me a chance to meet younger people, and made the devices child-proof and more difficult for my arthritic fingers to open. These changes came about because of federal and provincial legislation based on the advice of organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, Lung Association, et al.
I suggest to you that your “experts” from these organizations have never smoked or vaped and know very little about the experience. They have not spent almost eight years following the international research on vaping, as I have. They do not engage with adult smokers and vapers or make any attempt to consider their needs.
To keep this short, my major objection is to the restriction on flavours. The flavours are the single most effective factor in switching smokers to vaping, as I said seven years ago. In its own proposal, Health Canada admits this and predicts that a fairly large percentage of adult vapers would switch back to smoking – I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a rather shocking admission from a health authority.
I suspect that you and the “experts” who advise you don’t realize how simple it is to make vaping eliquid. I’ve done it in my living room, and my last venture into a chemistry lab was in 1965! The four ingredients are easily acquired and are used for other consumer products, so would be difficult to control, especially since I’m sure that a large number of adult vapers already have a life-time supply in their home freezers as a “precaution”. That fact alone should alarm you and cause you to think about your “precautionary principle”. The specifications for ingredients and manufacturing standards defined in the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act of 2018 would have little influence on the “home brews” of people like me, or on any enterprising 16-year-old.
It is time that our elected representatives paid some attention to the real needs of adults instead of reacting to the hysterical reports and press releases about the youthful fad of vaping. We adult vapers are more concerned about youth vaping than anyone, since our lives and health are threatened. I am always willing to speak with you and give you my suggestions on a reasonable way of discouraging youth vaping.
Marion C Burt