Vape shop owners are ripping into regulations hitting a community in Canada that ban customers from testing different e-cigarettes inside a store.
A new rule, which prohibits stores from allowing customers to sample their products indoors, will go into effect across Ontario July 1. The measure also mandates that vape shops cover their windows so vapor products are not visible from the street. Harm reduction advocates and shop owners say the policy is “coming from a place of fear,” and will make the transition from cigarettes to safer alternatives much more difficult for smokers trying to quit, reported the Windsor Star.
They noted smokers new to harm reduction technologies rely on product testing in shops to find the right vape for them, and often need the aid of vape shop workers to have a complete understanding of how their device functions. The new regulations will leave current smokers without a bridge into the world of alternative — and safer — technologies, the critics argue. (RELATED: FDA Commissioner Warns Vaping Companies To ‘Step Up Soon’ Or Face A Crackdown)
“It seems a lot like they are basing their decision on emotion and not scientific fact,” Randy Labelle, the manager of VapeMeet in Windsor, Ontario, told the Windsor Star. “Vaping has been proven time and time again to help people quit smoking.”
Without the opportunity to become familiar with vape products through local shops, advocates fear adult smokers in Ontario will be more likely to stick with combustible cigarettes.
The onerous policy appears to be at odds with the position of Canada’s health agency. A recently passed federal bill backed by Health Canada acknowledged the benefit of vaping over smoking combustible cigarettes.
“Though evidence on the potential benefits and risks of vaping products is still emerging, Health Canada is of the view that while vaping products are harmful, they are less harmful than smoking cigarettes,” said a statement from Health Canada, according to the Windsor Star.
Tobacco’s impact on health is determined by the delivery method, which is combustion in the case of cigarettes. The vast majority of disease-causing chemicals — up to 95 percent — are only released when burning cigarettes, according to Public Health England, an arm of the U.K.’s Department of Health. This is why e-cigarettes greatly reduce the health risks associated with smoking.
Harm reduction experts say smokers need to be properly informed about alternatives to cigarettes by government health bodies and scientists if society is serious about ultimately eradicating the deadly habit.
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