Open Letter to Hon. Dipika Damerla

Posted by The VapeMate Team on 12/15/2015 to Industry
An Open Letter regarding the pending regulations for Bill 45, Schedule 3 (Electronic Cigarettes Act 2015) direct to sponsor, Hon. Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (ddamerla.mpp@liberal.ola.org) as well as:
We will provide updates here as and if we receive any response(s).
  • Jan 13th, 2016 - Response received from Minister Bill Walker. We already knew his position as being positive toward Electronic Cigarettes and against Bill 45, Sch 3 (ECA). The response was quite positive and started with: "Thank you for writing and pointing out the pitfalls of Bill 45. I share your concerns, and did voice them directly with Minister Damerla in meetings and in the Legislature during debate on her bill." He also requested a copy of any response we may receive from the Associate Health Minister, which we will provide (if one ever comes). We thank him for his support!

From: VapeMate Team [mailto:sales@vapemate.com]
Sent: December-15-15 6:09 PM
To: ddamerla.mpp@liberal.ola.org; ehoskins.mpp@liberal.ola.org; kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org; csousa.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Cc: SCMPP@ndp.on.ca; bill.walker@pc.ola.org; fgelinas-qp@ndp.on.ca
Subject: Bill 45, Sch 3 (ECA) and Regulations

Dear Honourable Ministers, and Members of Parliament,

I find myself writing to you today with regard to Bill 45, Schedule 3 (Electronic Cigarette Act). I have gone through the regulations and from what I can see with the regulations, I along with many others, we have reason for concern.

I don't know if any of you understand what a sale of an vaping device consists of, the time needed and the education curve for the new vaper or helping a existing vaper. To be fair I certainly don't understand how gov't works, so why should anyone conclude that you understand the vaping industry. Considering how much time we have to take with each customer. It is a huge learning curve.

First off, If we are not allowed to trouble shoot the devices, or show a new vaper how their device works in vape shops many former smokers may get discouraged. Sometimes we have to show them how to:

  • Draw on the device, *take a puff* to see if that specific "draw" works for them, is it too tight, or too airy? Is the device working properly.
  • Put on the atomizer and see why it is not working, which means turning on the device and vapour can be produced.
  • Taking apart the device, checking the coils, possibly replacing them, putting it back together and trying again.
  • Try their liquid they have contained in the device. Many times they think they are not getting the right "taste"
  • Power on their device, go through a complete "how to" with them, takes longer with our older clientele.
  • Check to see if the amount of vapour is suitable.

For a smoker having the ability to try the liquids can mean the difference between success and failure. If someone comes into our store and can't try the liquids, they may purchase one or two but will usually return within days to "try" another flavour. The reason for this is there taste buds change. If they can't try the liquids they soon will get discouraged with the cost of purchasing new liquids and the time it is taking for each trip to the shop. We often discourage family members from purchasing liquids because what they personally may think "tastes great" their family member may not. We usually encourage them to come back with their family member that wants to make the switch to an E-cig and have them try the liquids first before even selling them a kit. It produces a better success rate.

I am not sure if there is a general misunderstanding of our products? If some of the information that was presented was inaccurate, or what happened when the regulations for the E-cig Act of Ontario when drafted? I believe if you were to visit a vape shop and gain some understanding of the process, what goes into each sale, whether it be someone new or someone having difficulty with their chosen device you may understand why vapers are so "up in arms" about these regulations. I also believe if you did that, you would be re-writing these regulations to reflect the knowledge you gained in that experience.

I don't think we can or should debate the science on E-cigs. I am sure you have heard the smoking numbers are plummeting, the children are not using them as a gateway to tobacco, as the numbers of children smoking are also the lowest we've seen. Nor can we argue that they are harming anyone. There simply is NO evidence to date. Taking a precautionary approach certainly can do more harm than good, and after 12+ years of vaping in the UK, should that be the approach at this time?

Since the drafting the regulations in Bill 45, we are already getting remarks from our customers that vaping may be worse than smoking. This bill projects that idea. Questioning why we can't vape in vape shops leads to the perception that there is something in the passive vapour that they should be concerned about, when in fact all of the current evidence is pointing in the opposite direction. Yes,the vapour from an E-cig might be a nuisance but it certainly is not a health concern. All studies thus far show passive vapour to be well under any work place safety standards. The CVA (Canadian Vaping Association) presented that information to someone in Minister Damerla's office and it was ignored. To put that in perspective, ask E-cig experts that have done the studies. They keep repeating that it should not be of any concern.

Honourable Dr Hoskins, You are a doctor, you have the medical background. I beg of you to look through the peer reviewed studies on passive vapour, the science on the products contained in the liquids, and think of the harm reduction possibility we have here. We vapers, are all victims of big tobacco, their lies and deceit. We have finally found a revolutionary tool that has changes so many lives. Please take a look at the studies directly involving passive vapour, or better yet, contact Dr Konstantinos Farsallinos. He has gone over the studies and he has performed some of the studies himself. He is an expert in this field.

I, on the other hand, am not an expert but fell head first into researching vaping over the last 5 years. I hope that our Ontario government can lead the way on these remarkable devices. We have many anti-tobacco activists getting on board with this industry. Why? Because they understand how this leads that smoker to a door way out. Honourable Sousa, there will be savings in our medical costs, less tobacco related illnesses, because smokers have left deadly tobacco behind. Information coming forth out of the USA is projecting numbers showing the cost associated when you get people to switch, there are medical savings to be had that will offset any losses from taxes collected on sales of tobacco.

I encourage anyone to talk to Professor David Sweanor, a long time tobacco activist from the University of Ottawa. He has travelled to various global summits and conventions on this topic. He is unbiased and approaches the E-cig industry from various sides. He is not under anyone's umbrella to cherry pick or skew information. he simply takes a logical look at the evidence and gives his perspective from the years he has been in the associated with getting people to stop smoking. Please have a conversation with him. He understands both sides of this dilemma we find ourselves in.

In closing, it is my strong belief that, if the Ecig Act of Ontario is not amended to allow vaping in vape shops and allow the consumer to try the liquids before purchasing we will see an increase in the smoking numbers and continued tobacco related deaths in Ontario. Am I working myself out of a job? No, because until tobacco cigarettes are banned, I will have a customer base. However if you wish you can look at my business numbers and see we live off of my husband's wage. I am not making a living doing this, I couldn't survive on what I make. What matters to me is, what I consistently see in my vape shop. Another person leaving deadly tobacco behind. I am not just selling someone a new pair of jeans.

I know many have been writing letters to MPP's in their riding, and many of those have forwarded information on to Minister Damerla's office but at this time most have not heard back. We feel like any effort to communicate with our MPP's is not being heard, or falling on deaf ears. I have cc'd my local Minister, Sarah Campbell, the official opposition health critic, Minister France Gélinas as well as health critic Minister Bill Walker in this email.

Thank you, and please respond as soon as possible. I told my customers I would be writing to all of you, not just for myself but on their behalf as well. If you require any more information or need to ask any questions, please do so. I will find whatever relevant information you need.

Sincerely,
Charlene Haste

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