With Bill S-5, the federal government is trying to pass legislation that targets electronic cigarettes and vaping. It hasn’t come into effect yet but did pass second reading and is now in committee so it’s important for Canadians to know what’s wrong with this bill.
First, it lumps vaping into the same category as smoking tobacco, but there’s a big difference between the two.
Vaping serves as a harm reduction tool because there’s no combustion involved as there is with tobacco. And while media and government tend to demonize electronic cigarettes, a U.K. study has shown it to be 95% less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco.
Derek From, a lawyer with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, wrote a report that compares vaping legislation across the country, so he knows a lot about the laws surrounding both vaping and tobacco.
Watch as I speak with Derek about the barriers the government of Canada is putting up that will stop tobacco users from accessing much less harmful e-cigarettes.
According to the Canadian Journal of Public Health, the annual average health care cost per traditional tobacco smoker is $3,071 resulting in a direct health care cost of $4.4B per year. Further, they say the overall economic burden of smoking in 2008 was $18.4B.
Smoking rates have decreased since that time and by 2012 smoking rates decreased to 17.5%. To show what kind of savings taxpayers could realize with decreases in smoking, if that number was down to 12.5% like it is in B.C., this could save $2.8B annually.
Making the switch to electronic cigarettes could make that possible, but the government keeps getting in the way of Canadians accessing harm reduction.