JAN. 21, 2020
Warning Labels Should Make Clear Vaping is Not Risk-Free, Contains Nicotine, But is a Better Choice Than Smoking: RBH
Health Canada continues to affirm that vaping is a less harmful choice than smoking and this message needs to be reflected on new warning labels for vape products – Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. recommended today in a submission to Health Canada on proposed new vaping regulations for advertising, promotion and labelling.
While RBH generally supports the harm reduction approach of Health Canada, RBH proposes that Health Canada:
• Improve health warnings: add to the draft warning labels by including a statement consistent with those on Health Canada’s website such as “vaping is less harmful than smoking”;
• Amend advertising, promotion and display rules: revise advertising and point-of-sale display restrictions at general retail to include branded harm-reduction messaging as a form of public-service announcement;
• Expand the definition of vaping products: through regulation, define heated tobacco products as vaping products.
RBH is calling for a balanced approach and shares Health Canada’s conclusion that vaping should be restricted for youth, but remain an accessible reduced-risk alternative for existing adult smokers for as Health Canada says, “giving people who smoke access to less harmful options than cigarettes, could help reduce health risks and possibly save lives.”
A balanced regulatory approach is critical for both immediate and long-term public health objectives. In the immediate term, maintaining adult access to vaping products and information about such products will help today’s 4.5 million Canadian smokers switch to a less harmful product, if they do not quit. In the longer-term, tough new regulations will help guard against a new generation of young Canadians becoming nicotine users.
This regulatory approach is consistent with proposals included in RBH’s recommendations in Unsmoke: Ideas for a Smoke-Free Future.
Health Canada has set a target to reduce smoking rates to five per cent by the year 2035. RBH believes that with the right policies and the right technologies this target can be achieved sooner.
QUOTES: Peter Luongo, Managing Director, RBH
• We want to Unsmoke Canada. That means if you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, quit. If you don't quit, change.
• Vaping or any smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes are not for youth, never smokers or former smokers.
• We support tough new rules for responsible marketing and retailing to reduce the access and appeal of vaping to youth.
• Tough vaping rules will help prevent a new generation of users.
• Vaping products should only be designed and marketed for adult smokers who are seeking an alternative to continued smoking.
• Warning labels on vaping products should inform consumers that these products are not risk-free and contain nicotine, which is addictive. Warning labels should also inform smokers that vaping is a better alternative to smoking.
• We need a strong national approach. Regulating tobacco vaporizers as vaping products would harmonize provincial and federal laws to the potential benefit of existing adult smokers, giving them reasonable access to better alternatives to cigarettes from coast to coast to coast.
• We need a regulatory balance that allows existing smokers to switch from cigarettes to a less harmful alternative, if they choose not to quit entirely.
• Innovation has led to better alternatives for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes.
• The best choice for any Canadian is to never start smoking or vaping, or to quit entirely.
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.