Endorsement or warning? Vape ad draws attention to weak regulations

Is it an endorsement or a warning?

An almost full page ad in Thursday's Journal de Montreal is drawing attention to an apparent weakness in the province's vaping regulations.

The law requires print advertisements for nicotine products include the government issued warning seen in the top left corner of the ad, and some are questioning whether the warning is being manipulated too easily.

“The warning is not adequate,” said Flory Doucas, Co-Director and Spokesperson for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control. “This is really manufacturers trying to exploit loopholes.”

The advertisement seems to suggest to readers that since “Smoking Kills,” try vaping instead.

The Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services has not responded CJAD 800’s request for comment.

The manufacturer of the product in question, the Vype ePod, is Imperial Tobacco, which sells such brands as Du Maurier, Players, and Peter Jackson, and occupies half of the Canadian cigarette market share.

Imperial Tobacco has a history of using its vape line to position itself as being at the forefront of the movement to transition people off tobacco products.

The Vype line debuted at a World No Tobacco Day event, in May 2018.

“There is value in smokers switching to these products,” Doucas said.” But, what the warning should say is that nicotine is highly addictive, smokers will only benefit from vaping products when they switch completely, and they are certainly not harmless.”

A John Hopkins University study notes that while vaping is less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco products, it is just as addictive, and is contributing to the emergence of a new generation of young people hooked on nicotine.

This is what really worries Doucas, who calls recent spikes in youth vaping levels, “an epidemic.”

“The manufacturers have been using social media to advertise, and that’s exposing a whole new generation of kids to highly addictive products,” she said.