Vaping ads should discourage youth, but urge smokers to switch - Chronicle Herald

MARCH 18, 2019

Vaping ads should discourage youth, but urge smokers to switch - Chronicle Herald

PETER LUONGO

Health Canada recently announced it is looking at new advertising restrictions to stem the growth of vaping among Canadian youth.

We agree – this is a step in the right direction to protect youth. Indeed, we are in agreement with most of your March 13 editorial on vaping products. Vaping should never be advertised or promoted to youth. It should be responsibly regulated, marketed and sold only to current adult smokers.

Health Canada is specifically looking at cracking down on where vaping ads can be placed, what they can say, and how vaping is promoted at retail. Most of these ideas are a function of a common-sense proposition we can all agree on. Youth should never vape. Nor should adults who are not currently smokers.

Where we differ is when it comes to adult smokers. This could be an opportunity to help adult smokers and truly make Canada smoke-free.

The fact is, vaping is an effective smoking-cessation tool for adults who already smoke.

A January 2019 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found innovations such as e-cigarettes are twice as effective in helping people to stop smoking as traditional nicotine-replacement gum or patches.

Vaping can be a responsible alternative to cigarettes for current adult smokers – and Health Canada should consider that in its new advertising rules on vaping. The best choice for adult Canadians is never to start smoking or using any nicotine product or to quit entirely.

But innovative nicotine alternatives, such as vaping or heating, are different than smoking.
Heating is where you heat tobacco to create an aerosol like vaping, but you don’t burn it. No flame. No smoke.

Since we launched our own heat-not-burn product, our clear goal has been to switch current adult smokers off cigarettes. We market it legally and responsibly and it is intended for adult smokers only.

Nicotine-containing products are addictive and not risk-free. But research has repeatedly demonstrated vaping and heating are better choices compared with smoking cigarettes.

So they should be a part of a common-sense approach by governments to improve overall public health.

Health Canada’s advertising rules on vaping should make clear to adult smokers that not all nicotine products have the same risks – and it’s better to switch to something less risky than stay with cigarettes.

We can all agree that we want to see less smoking in Canada. And we don’t want youth to start vaping or heating.

At Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, our goal is to stop selling cigarettes. We want today’s adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes if they are not going to quit nicotine completely.

We think the government of Canada may make that happen even faster by embracing science, technology and innovation when it comes to alternatives to smoking for adults, such as vaping or heating.

And we fully support the government’s goal of curbing youth vaping. That’s just common sense to set Canada on a path to be smoke-free.

Peter Luongo is managing director, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.

About RBH

Rothmans, Benson and Hedges (RBH), a subsidiary of Philip Morris International Inc., is one of Canada’s leading tobacco companies. We are also leading the Unsmoke Canada conversation and helping Canadians go smoke-free.

We employ more than 780 people in seven offices and one manufacturing plant across Canada.

At RBH, we think big, start small, and move fast by celebrating diversity of opinions to ensure the best ideas win.

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