Senate Bill S-5, a prelude to prohibition

Posted by The Vapemate Team on 3/5/2017 to Industry
Senate Bill S-5, a prelude to prohibition
Call to ACTION for Canadian Vapers and Smokers

In Canada, Senate Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts was introduced for first reading on November 22nd, 2016.

This Bill has many points of significant concern and potentially catastrophic ramifications for not only the industry but to you and your rights to vaping products and harm reduction as a Canadian citizen. When the bill was first released, there were a few items of potential concern but after a Legal Assessment of the bill it became quite clear that the legislators do not understand the purpose of vaping products and they are giving themselves the ability to regulate vaping right out of existence.

THE SHORT OF THE LONG IS...


If this bill were to pass today, regulations placed in the hands of the wrong people could result in a complete shutdown of the independent industry and the only remaining player would be Big Tobacco. Thousands of jobs will be lost and 40,000 Canadians will continue to die from smoking related illnesses, every year.


We must ALLTAKE ACTION and take it NOW!

We need to educate the legislators about vaping products and explain the ramifications of what this bill is proposing. We don't care HOW or WHAT you do, just please help do "something" or the future of vaping in Canada is looking very bleak. Below are some ideas and methods that you can use to help make that happen.

Education for the general public is always necessary. Smoking and the campaign against smoking has brought society to the point where it is socially acceptable to discriminate against smokers. As former smokers (now vapers), we accepted that as well and want to do our part to help smokers. But even as a vaper, instead of being celebrated for our success, we are being demonized similarly to smokers because of what it looks like and ideology without looking at scientific evidence and completely ignoring the harm reduction potential of vaping products.

LET'S GET STARTED!


This Call to Action is pretty long but it details several pieces of significant information that we wanted to share. You can read through each of the sections in sequence or skip directly to any particular section by clicking on the link below:

 

How will this Bill will move through the Government?


Since this is a bill that has been initiated by the Senate, the bill first move through these stages within the Senate (See Passing Bills in the Senate):
  • First reading – Completed Nov 22, 2016
  • Second reading – Completed Dec 14, 2016
  • Committee stage – WE ARE HERE
  • Report stage
  • Third reading
*Debates on the Senate floor may or may not be held at different points through the process.

After Third Reading in the Senate, the Bill will be sent to the House of Commons for a similar process (See Process of Passing a Bill):
  • First reading
  • Second reading
  • Committee stage
  • Report stage
  • Third reading
  • Royal Assent
*Debates on the House floor may or may not be held at different points through the process.

Once both the Senate and the House of Commons have passed the bill in exactly the same wording and it is given Royal Assent at which point it can become law. However, it would still only be a Framework without any enforceable regulations.

Regulations then need to be drafted and passed by the House of Commons at which point it can be assigned a Proclamation date. That date would be the date where enforcement will begin.

Who should I contact?


Legislators are the ones that we NEED you to reach out to at this point. Right now, the bill is in the hands of the Senate but it will eventually make its way to the House of Commons (Federal MPs) as well. Within the Senate, when the bill goes to the Committee stage, we expect that it will be assigned to the Standing Committee of Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI). For committee in the House of Commons, we expect it will be assigned to the Standing Committee on Health (HESA).

Senators

Members of the Senate Standing Committee of Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) are:
We have also created a PDF with this list and their contact details that you can download: CLICK HERE

All Senators will ultimately be voting on this Bill so it would be beneficial to reach out to as many as practical so that they understand what they are voting on. A complete list of Senators can be found HERE.

Members of the House of Commons (Members of Parliament - MPs)

Everyone should definitely reach out to their MP. They are the ones that act on your behalf in Parliament. Find your MP by Postal Code on this website: CLICK HERE

Additional MPs to contact are members of the Standing Committee on Health (HESA):
We've also created a PDF with this list and their contact details along with the list of Associate Members that you can download: CLICK HERE

News Organizations / Article Comments / Social Media

Public opinion plays a significant role in how we are perceived. Most people, as stated above, view us as just another form of smoker. The only way that will change is if they are told the truth about what vaping is and why it is important, no, CRUCIAL to having a significant positive impact on Canadian Public Health as a Tobacco Harm Reduction tool.

Reaching out to your local news publications, letters to the editor, minor (and major) news organizations just might get published. They WON'T be published if you don't try.

When there is a news article on vaping (positive or negative), post comments wherever possible. Share your experiences and spread truths about vaping.

The same applies to Social Media. There is a TON of information that gets posted within vaping groups on Facebook and/or vaping related hashtags on Twitter. That information needs to be spread OUTSIDE of the vaping community. Put it out there where there might not even be any vapers at all.

What is wrong with the Bill?


Actually, it would be easier to say what is NOT wrong with the bill, but this is a high level list of the more significant things that were found in the Legal Assessment of the Bill.

  • “No person” (stated throughout the bill) can state facts, cite studies, provide testimony, state public information or make comparative remarks about relative risks of Vaping Products compared to smoking
    • No person” could include every single person in Canada. Retail staff, manufacturer, consumers, guest speaker experts, random person that read about a study or anyone. Though it will likely be narrowed to business persons within the regulations.
    • This creates deception by omission if we can’t discuss relative risks, which is prohibited in consumer protection laws.
    • The inability state published public information protects tobacco companies
    • This is anti-health, anti-consumer, pro-cigarette, and undoubtedly unconstitutional
  • The bill does not address Vaping Products as a harm reduction tool nor does it address HESA Recommendation 3 (That the Government of Canada consult with the public, provinces/territories and stakeholders with respect to the regulation of electronic cigarettes with a view to protecting the health of Canadians.)
    • Every section of the bill is focused on the “potential” harms of Vaping Products and ignores relative risk compared to smoking
    • Nothing recognizes a positive in the transition of smokers to a less harmful product based on that relative risk.
    • Failing this, conflicts with the purpose of the bill, as stated (to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases)
    • On best estimates (Royal College of Physicians), vaping is in the range of 95% less hazardous than smoking
  • Throughout the bill, there are general restrictions to things like advertisement, promotion and allowed/not-allowed “things” based on what “might” appeal to youth
    • We agree that there are some things that can clearly be identified as appealing to youth but that line can become very blurry in most cases.
    • There is no solid guideline for what constitutes “reasonable grounds” for what appeals to youth. This is entirely a judgement call that would change from person to person. We are resorting to interpreting “perception” as opposed to interpreting “the law“.
    • If “reasonable grounds” can only be determined in a court of law, this independent industry might as well close their doors on day one.
    • Youth (under 18 years of age) are already restricted from purchasing the products.
    • From a public health perspective banning something that a “few” youth might be attracted to which could potentially facilitate a transition from smoking to vaping products is counterproductive, given the relative risk.
  • Banning flavours because they “might” be attractive to children. (prevents the sale of vaping products based on “sensory attributes” which include: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.)
    • From a public health perspective banning a flavour that a “few” youth might be attracted to which could potentially facilitate a transition from smoking to vaping products is counterproductive, given the relative risk.
    • There is no solid guideline for what “reasonable grounds” on appealing to youth actually means. This is entirely a judgement call that WILL change from person to person.
    • Taste/smell is subjective. What you think tastes/smells like blueberries, another person thinks tastes/smells like Lysol.
    • Youth (under 18 years of age) are already restricted from purchasing the products.
  • The Definition of Vaping Product is too broad (a part that maybe used with those devices;)
    • This makes every battery a vaping product
    • Every bottle of Propylene Glycol is a vaping product
    • Every bottle of Vegetable Glycerin is a vaping product
    • Ever bottle of food grade flavouring is a vaping product
    • Every lanyard is a vaping product
    • Every electronics micro-switch is a vaping product
    • Etc…
  • No exceptions to providing Vaping Products to youth under 18 (as a rule, this is agreeable)
    • But, what if a 14 year old has been smoking for 2 years and is now unable to quit using approved quit methods? Do we force them to solidify their smoking addiction for another 4 years (5 years, in some provinces) and THEN allow them to purchase Vaping Products?
    • This is also in conflict with the stated purpose of the bill (to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases) and HESA Recommendation 3 (regulation of electronic cigarettes with a view to protecting the health of Canadians.)
    • To restrict access to a less hazardous product to current smokers on the basis of age is discriminatory, a violation of human rights, and inconsistent with the goals of public health in general and this law specifically
  • Protects the interests of Tobacco Cigarettes over Vaping Products throughout the Bill
    • The inability to show, relay or discuss relative risk and comparatives can’t be seen as anything except protection of the interest of cigarettes
    • This is counter to the stated purpose of the bill (to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases)
    • This does not support the HESA Recommendation 3 (regulation of electronic cigarettes with a view to protecting the health of Canadians.)
  • Absurd penalty for violation of a significant number of sections
    • $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both
A PDF containing these bullet points can be downloaded: CLICK HERE

How do I start the conversation?


Don't be a jerk

Remember, you are trying to have a conversation. The conversation ends when there is vulgarity, rude behaviour or disrespect by one party or the other. When communicating with Legislators, try and remember to address them by proper titles (Minister, Honorable, Senator, etc.). Though they DO "technically" work for you, their elected position deserves your respect and a little bit of that can go a long way in continued, voluntary communication (discussed later).

Prepare for a meeting

To start a conversation about the Bill, you should first become familiar with the bill and identify a few points that you would want to discuss. Don't just focus on the bad parts of the bill. If there are points in the bill that you fully support (which there are for us as well), you should discuss those as well.

As far as sources of information, there are many:
You should have printed copies of any supporting documentation for those deep or extensive conversation.

Or if you don't necessarily want to have a discussion specifically about the bill, that's fine as well. "They" (whoever you communicate with) need to hear from you to understand the impact of any regulation and that it needs to be fair and reasonable.

Make an appointment

Where appropriate, call and/or email the person you wish to speak with to setup a date, time and location to meet. Be sure to give them an idea about what you wish to discuss. There is nothing that will make the conversation more awkward than them not having a clue what you want to talk about.

The conversation begins

To get started, obviously introduce yourself and try to make the conversation as casual as possible. Some topics from there could be:
  • Tell them your story (we all have them)
  • How long you've been vaping
  • How you started vaping
  • Ask them what they know about vaping products
  • Ask them what they know about the bill
    (don't be discouraged if they don't know about it. It's just not on their radar "yet".)
  • Ask them for their viewpoint on how they should be regulated
  • Tell them what you think about regulation in general
  • Talk about Points of Bill S-5 that you like
  • Talk about Points of Bill S-5 that you don't like
  • Make suggestions on how to make the bill better
  • Talk about any documentation that you will be leaving with them
  • Try to ask questions or for information that requires them to get back to you
Keep the lines of communication going. The first one is always the hardest but when this round of the conversation ends and something comes up (something is said during a debate, amendments, anything you think of after the conversation), make another appointment.

Conversations are our best weapon and defense at this point...

Now what?


Keep going! Pick another name and/or news organization from the list and start again. We need to be able to maximize our coverage and speak with as many people as possible.

Rest assured, those opposed to vaping are having a wide range of discussion with these people as well. They aren't talking about the positive aspects of vaping as a Harm Reduction tool.

Just the Links


The following is a list of links to web pages and documents that will be useful in obtaining information for communication about Bill S-5:

Header

0 Comments

Colin Emerson
Date: 3/23/2017
Having survived prostatic cancer treatment for 4 years with the help of vape pens, I cannot grasp the thought of having to return to my old but securely intrenched nicotine habit. Put people in charge that truly understand the difficulties in beating this addiction. Place people who use or have used tobacco products in charge to lend legitimacy to the bill instead of extremists whose sole holy war against tobacco lacks real concern at best.

Add Comment

What's This?
Type the code shown

Vapemate Logo
Are you of Legal Smoking Age in your State or Province?
We REQUIRE that you be at least of LEGAL Smoking age to purchase or use products from this site.
We may require that you show a valid government issued Photo ID indicating your date of birth prior to receiving your order.
I am of LEGAL Smoking Age
I am NOT of LEGAL Smoking Age