Response to: Pipe and Halayko: Why haven’t Ontario and Manitoba boosted taxes on vaping products?


I am writing in response to Andrew Halayko’s and Andrew Pipes  opinion piece that calls for Ontario and Manitoba to take advantage of an opportunity to raise taxes on vaping products. Professor Halayko’s piece presents outdated arguments that do not consider vaping as a powerful tool to reduce the harm caused by smoking.

Kids should not vape. Kids should not smoke. Vaping is not risk free.

We all agree on this.

Our agreement ends when vaping is dismissed by prominent public health officials who instead call on governments to put more restrictions to access, availability and, in this case, affordability of vapour products.

Vaping is not smoking. It should not be regulated in the same way as smoking. It should also not be taxed so much as to make it unaffordable to adult smokers who are looking for an alternative. If we keep going down this road vapour products will be more expensive than smoking. This does not make any sense from a public health standpoint.

Nothing is inherently ‘risk free’. However, two decades of use and volumes of scientific research has concluded that it is less risky than smoking. If every Canadian smoker switch to vapour products lung cancer, COPD and oral cancers would plummet. Public Health England states that vapour products are 95 percent less harmful than cigarette. Health Canada agrees and states that “vaping is less harmful than smoking.”

Vapour products are already extremely regulated in Canada. There are laws on the books that restrict the sale of vapour products to minors. Let’s enforce them and not condemn adults to one deadly choice: smoking.  Vaping is at a crossroads in Canada. We can choose to ignore the global scientific evidence that demonstrates that vaping is both less harmful than smoking and can help smokers quit. Or we can adopt progressive regulations with the goal of providing Canadians with correct information on vaping and its relative risk to smoking as well as ensuring that vaping products are available and affordable.

48,000 Canadians died last year of smoking-related illnesses.

Zero died of vaping.

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