Government's changing vape strategy shifts focus away from cigarettes, some fear


Advocates on both sides of the vaping debate say the government's clampdown on youth vaping is raising questions about how it plans to meet its tobacco reduction targets.
The government is in the midst of reviewing the 2018 bill that legalized vaping for the first time, and appears to be veering away from the narrow path between treating vapes as a harm reduction tool _ or a danger in and of themselves.
The harms of vaping relative to smoking tobacco cigarettes are still something of a mystery, but the government's website suggests it's safer than inhaling cigarette smoke.
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada executive director Cynthia Callard says the government seemed in favour of encouraging people to switch from smoking to vaping, but now seems to have moved away from that strategy.
The percentage of youth who say they use vapes more than doubled between 2017 and 2020. Fourteen per cent of people between 15 and 19 reported vaping in the last month of 2020.
The government has introduced several regulations in response, and has asked for feedback about whether more powers are needed to clamp down as part of its review.
Maria Papaioannoy (papa-YO-wine-OO) with Rights4Vapers says the approach is at odds with the government's harm reduction approach to drug use, and punishes people who want a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

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