The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) questions why the Government of Canada is funding the lobbying of itself
BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, Nov. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On November 17, 2022, Cochrane released its review of the latest findings on nicotine vaping’s efficacy. The review concluded, “There is high-certainty evidence that [e-cigarettes] with nicotine increase quit rates compared to NRT and moderate-certainty evidence that they increase quit rates compared to [e-cigarettes] without nicotine.” Cochrane reviews are internationally regarded as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Cochrane’s findings are the height of credibility and should encourage regulators everywhere to ensure reasonable access to vape products for adult smokers.
Harm reduction has become a mainstream global policy and activist movement. Sensible tobacco control policy should combine elements that reduce demand, reduce supply and reduce the harm caused by combustible tobacco. Nicotine vaping is tobacco harm reduction. And yet, many Canadian health organizations have lost sight of the shared goal of preventing tobacco-related deaths and illnesses. Instead, health organizations have waged a misguided war on nicotine. Most vocal in its opposition to harm reduction is Physicians for a Smokefree Canada (PSC). Their position on harm reduction has been made clear through a submission on tobacco control in which they state, “[PSC] urges the ministers to address two key weaknesses in the federal approach to tobacco control: a) the commercialization of tobacco harm reduction and b) the absence of a plan to phase out the supply and demand for tobacco and nicotine.”
In response to Cochrane’s latest review, PSC published a misleading blog disregarding the review’s findings and questioning the integrity of the authors and review. PSC has a history of ignoring the science on vaping and promoting messaging that is counter to the published statements of Health Canada. In regard to using vaping to quit smoking, Health Canada states “Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it is possible. Vaping products and e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a less harmful way than smoking cigarettes. These products may reduce health risks for smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit using nicotine… While evidence is still emerging, some evidence suggests that using e-cigarettes is linked to improved rates of success.”
PSC’s blog questioning the veracity of the Cochrane review prompted the authors to release a point-by-point rebuttal. The rebuttal concluded “We’d like to end with a reminder that deaths caused by smoking are preventable and devastating to people who smoke, to the people who love them, and to the communities around them, not to mention their population and economic impacts. Our passion for what we do is driven by the experiences of people we love. We share the same goal as Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, namely the reduction of tobacco-caused illness through reduced smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.”
As PSC’s campaign against nicotine vaping is counter to the conclusions of the best available science, it begs the question, is the organization qualified to be making these health claims? PSC gives the impression of being an independent grassroots organization representing Canadian physicians who are opposed to smoking. Although the organization’s board is comprised of some doctors, all recent publications are attributed to “PSC Staff,” who appear to hold no relevant degrees or certifications. Cynthia Callard has authored many of the organization’s publications and was PSC’s registered lobbyist. According to PSC’s charity filing, 98% of its total income came from the Canadian government. In effect, the Canadian Government is spending taxpayers money to have itself lobbied by prohibitionist science deniers. None of the government grant money is used to run smoking cessation clinics, charitable programs, or any other program that would contribute to reducing the burden of combustible tobacco on Canadian public health.
PSC continues to lobby the Canadian government for more restrictive regulation with the intent of reducing the supply and demand of vaping products. The problem with this approach is while regulation can be effective at reducing the supply of legal and regulated vape products, regulation has historically had minimal impact on demand. Canada’s illicit vape market is already growing as a result of previous regulatory changes. Additional restrictions will undoubtedly exacerbate the flood of unregulated and potentially dangerous products. The illicit market jeopardizes consumer safety and puts youth at greater risk. Vape product regulation must ensure reasonable access and product selection to provide a safe supply for consumers.
In a recent tweet, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health said “Together we must all reduce the stigma around addiction and spread the message throughout our communities that harm reduction measures like safe supply, which provide safer alternatives to the toxic drug supply, work. Because there is no recovery for people who are dead.”
“Vaping is a tool intended for adults to quit smoking. The Canadian Vaping Association echoes the comments of the Honourable Minister that harm reduction measures work. Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death and illness in Canada. Preventing tobacco-related deaths and illnesses must remain the medical community’s priority,” said Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board.
About the CVA: The Canadian Vaping Association is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents over 200 vaping businesses in Canada. Our membership does not include any tobacco companies or affiliates.
Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-274-1867
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