Legislation was tabled this week by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard that will create a registry of vape businesses and require retailers to obtain a license to sell vape products. The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) supports this legislation and views the registration process as a positive step to protect youth.
The CVA has encouraged all governments to implement such policy to aid in developing more consistent and rigorous enforcement. By licensing retailers, New Brunswick is creating a better pathway to enforcement. Through the implementation of this program, irresponsible vendors can now be more easily penalized through fines and license suspension. Licensing also provides a pathway to revoke the license of repeat offenders, baring them from selling vape products.
“Youth vaping prevention is best addressed through consistent enforcement and controlled access points. Licensing requirements limit the number of channels available to youth and are a step in the right direction for accountable enforcement. For this licensing program to be effective the government must implement reporting channels and regular inspections,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA.
Shephard also stated that New Brunswick can expect to see future bills restricting flavours and increasing the minimum age to purchase vape products to 21. Should New Brunswick move forward with plans to restrict flavoured vapes, implementation must be carefully considered.
Not only will a total ban on flavoured vapes cause an increase in combustible tobacco use, but it will also result in approximately 40 small businesses closing, 250 jobs lost, and dozens of broken lease agreements. As a result, completely banning flavours will have serious consequences on both public health and the economy. Aside from the direct consequences of this policy, New Brunswick can expect illicit sellers to fill the void left by the ban. Historically, prohibition has always led to a strong black market. Illicit sellers will introduce potentially dangerous products to the province with no oversight or age verification.
However, restricting flavoured products to age-restricted specialty vape stores would eliminate all legal access points for youth. This action in combination with New Brunswick’s new licensing requirement creates a straightforward pathway to enforcement and youth protection.
New Brunswick has taken a strong step to protect youth with its registration program. Future legislation on flavours should seek to continue to protect youth while balancing the needs of adult smokers that have chosen vaping to reduce their harm.