The bill as submitted by the Liberal Minster of Health is here.
It went to second reading and was sent to the Law Amendments Committee for input from the general public and interested parties.
I and others spoke. In person, out loud. I know, I was completely traumatized. I can type a mean letter, but I shook like a leave when it came to reciting it. This was my submission.
Until this legislation (Bill 60) was introduced, I and pretty much everyone I have spoken to was only aware of one flavor of tobacco and that would be menthol. Thanks to the liberal government I (and any kid that watches the news) am now aware of watermelon cigarillos. Sounds like the LIBERALS are the ones now marketing flavored tobacco to children. Great job!Madam Chair, members of the committee:My name is Eva Campbell and I am co-owner of the End Vapor Shop in New Glasgow and Truro.I thank you for allowing me to speak today on the matter of amendments proposed to the smoke free places act. Bill #60Electronic cigarettes must not be defined as a tobacco product because it, quite simply, is NOT a tobacco product and in fact is in direct competition with tobacco. That being said, I submit test results that indicates that the eliquid we and other vendors sell has no tobacco content. As the bill is presently worded, it is clear that the honorable minister of health is not aware of the obvious distinction between tobacco flavors and flavored tobacco.Looking at the list of 4000+ chemicals and known carcinogens in traditional tobacco cigarettes and comparing them with the 4 ingredients in the eliquid (none of which are tobacco by the way) I personally concluded (albeit, not scientifically) that you really don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this is safer alternative. But you don’t have to take my word for that, in recent years, there have been an overabundance of scientific research that proves just that. And my business partner will supply you with that information.As vendors and a consumers, we welcome sensible regulation of the electronic cigarette industry separate from tobacco. In fact, we already self regulate, in that we refuse to sell to minors. We require proper labeling of the ejuice, child proof bottles, proper safety certifications on all our hardware and independent lab testing of the liquid by a Health Canada accredited testing facility. I submit also our suggestions on regulating electronic cigarettes as a separate entity from tobacco.What I and others object to is electronic cigarettes being labeled as a tobacco product. Aside from the fact there is no tobacco present in the liquid, we view traditional tobacco as a direct competitor to our industry. I personally object to the Honorable minister of health’s attempt to redefine tobacco to include something that is absolutely not a tobacco product.This is like saying, we will be banning apples and by the way the definition of apples will now be extended to include... staplers. I am thinking Webster’s may take issue with that.I am perplexed as to why the Honorable Minister of Health thinks we need anything else besides age restrictions for entry to vape shops. That alone would obviously negate the concern that we would be marketing to children. Now, I am not a drinker so I was aghast to learn that this was not a requirement for the NSLC stores, which openly displays bubblegum flavored vodka and Caramilk cream liquor. (what’s more kid friendly than a chocolate bar?)Flavored ejuice is just that...flavored. It consists of propylene glycol (flavorless), vegetable glycerine (flavorless), may or may not contain nicotine (also flavorless) and food grade flavoring. Even tobacco flavored ejuice is just that….tobacco flavored, not flavored tobacco. The distinction must be made and I think this is where the Honorable minister of health is confused. Take away the flavoring and we are left with flavorless vapor. People don’t even drink flavorless water anymore.Vapers may start off with a tobacco flavoring, but most quickly find the flavor of tobacco objectionable. After all it was never the taste of a cigarette that got us hooked. The majority of our customers are over 40 and enjoy having a variety of flavors available to them.Clearly I am not a child. However, I enjoy vaping fruit and candy flavors. Tobacco ‘flavors’ (not to be confused with tobacco that is flavored) in no way appeals to me. Saying that flavors only appeal to children is ludicrous, unless you contend that all Canadians upon reaching the age of 19 exist on cream of wheat and water? I did not think so.Removing the flavorings from ejuice will effectively shut down the legitimate industry and send those consumers into either the black market or worse, back to smoking traditional tobacco. Today I can tell you I will never smoke another tobacco cigarette, as long as this is an available alternative.Not letting the public see their choices in delivery systems (which incidentally look nothing like cigarettes) and prohibiting point of sale marketing would be crippling to our business. Again, this is not a cigarette where all you have to do is light the right end and go. People benefit from hands on demonstration of the product and instruction on care, use, proper handling of the device.It is distressing to me that our honorable minister of health has brought forth this bill without the slightest understanding as to what this product is or how it works. Please, stop calling it tobacco. There is no more tobacco in this than there is in the coffee you drank this morning.All I am asking is that before you jump on to this particular band wagon, you avail yourselves of the research that is available and make an informed decision about the inclusion of electronic cigarettes in Bill No. 60 and the proposed changes to the amendment. Please consider what this will do, not only to the dozen or so strictly vaping businesses in Nova Scotia that will inevitably be shut down, but also how this will affect the thousands of Nova Scotian tax payers that will lose this ability to continue on with this safer alternative to traditional tobacco.This bill is old fashioned slight of hand designed to make it impossible for any MLA in the house (regardless of their affiliation) to vote against it. It’s battle cry? THINK OF THE CHILDREN AND GET RID OF FLAVORED TOBACCO ONCE AND FOR ALL. Then in the fine print it exempt the only flavored tobacco that anyone is even aware of. In reality it is a direct shot across the bow of anyone who tries to compete with big tobacco.I am NOT a smoker, this is NOT tobacco and must not be lumped into the same category. I suggest that you remove mention of electronic cigarettes from this bill. If the Honorable minister of Health would like to propose sensible regulation on electronic cigarettes as its own consumer product separate from tobacco, I am sure we would all be open to that.The only thing this bill, as presently worded, will accomplish is the destruction of the most effective form of tobacco harm reduction to date and serves only to protect traditional tobacco from its only real competition.Thank you for your time.
So, after 49 people spoke (most against the bill as written, except of course the tobacco companies, they were all in.) what do you suppose they did? Removed all mention of flavors, including (yes, I said including) flavored tobacco.
Now the oposition is fighting to get the bill either thrown out entirely or to have menthol tobacco included in the ban. The Liberal majority government is digging in its heels.
What does this mean for our shop? We can't let anyone under 19 in the shop let alone sell to them. (not a problem, I hate kids) and we will no longer be able to 'vape' in public. Big deal.
We may not have won the entire war (that will come later) but we let the government know that we are not going to take their shit lying down.