For those of us who were killing ourselves with cigarettes, Ontario’s proposed anti-vaping laws are a slap in the face. An announcement to Canadian ex-smokers that our progress and improved health should be hidden from the public. But the reality is that this bill hurts Canadians—vaper or not.
5 Ways Ontario’s Anti-Vaping Bill Hurts Canadians
Let’s not kid ourselves.
Not everyone should be vaping.
In fact, if you’re not a smoker, you should probably stay away from nicotine altogether.
But for those of us who were killing ourselves with cigarettes, Ontario’s proposed anti-vaping laws are a slap in the face. An announcement to Canadian ex-smokers that our progress and improved health should be hidden from the public—kept as some dark secret.
Don’t get me wrong.
We welcome new standards for e-juice manufacturing. We agree that you shouldn’t be able to vape in offices, malls, or most other enclosed places for that matter.
The problem is that Bill 45 goes way beyond that. It bans:
• Touching or even seeing a vape before buying it
• Vaping in all enclosed spaces (including vape shops)
• Promoting electronic cigarettes in vape shops (huh?)
But I’m not here to talk about the effects this bill will have on vapers. This issue has been exhaustively covered in dozens of blogs, forums, and Facebook groups.
The reality is that this bill hurts Canadians—vaper or not.
1. It Hurts Canadian Small Business (and the Economy)
Unlike the majority of anti-smoking campaigns and products (NRTs, gum, patches, inhalers, etc.), vaping is a grass roots industry. Most vaporizers are bought from local B&M shops run by entrepreneurs.
We’re regular people that quit cigarettes with the help of a vaporizer. People who poured our life-savings into trying to help others do the same.
Most of us don’t advertise. We don’t spend millions on marketing.
We sell a good product that WORKS. We help each and every customer that walks through the door. We spend a considerable amount of time sampling, demonstrating, troubleshooting, and fixing. That’s our business model.
But Bill 45 systematically destroys this business model. It makes it impossible to properly educate smokers on proper usage. It prevents lifetime cigarette smokers from trying vaping before committing to a purchase.
The first obvious effect of this will be decreased customer counts. It’s no surprise that our “try-it-before-you-buy-it” mentality has been helping us bring smokers into our stores. If that goes away, so do many customers.
The second, less obvious effect is a decrease in returning customers. Vaporizers are fairly tech-heavy, and a lot of our customers need help figuring them out. If we can’t whip the devices out in our stores and walk our customers through their operation, many might give up vaping out of confusion and frustration.
All of this amounts to decreased sales numbers.
Many mom & pop vape shops simply won’t survive this. Dozens of local businesses may go out of business in a matter of months.
And failing businesses are terrible for the already struggling economy.
2. It Slows the Decline of Tobacco Smoking
For more than 30 years now, we’ve known the terrible effects that cigarettes wreak upon our bodies.
Our society is subjected to cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, stroke, birth defects, and a mountainous slew of other terrifying diseases directly linked to tobacco smoking. We know this for a fact now.
And for decades, we’ve been trying to push back against the rising tide of tobacco caused deaths. Billions of dollars have gone into combatting this blight on our global health.
And while all of these initiatives (education, regulation, therapy) have been slowly chipping away at smoking rates over the years, the number of annual deaths related to tobacco is actually growing.
Personal vaporizers are the first truly effective alternative to cigarettes, and their growing prevalence in Canada has already put a big dent in tobacco sales. And there’s still much work to be done.
To snuff out the proverbial flame of the vape industry is to undo the massive strides we’ve made away from tobacco.
And Bill 45 was designed to do just that—to curb vaporizer sales and maintain the status quo.
3. It Brings More Business to Big Tobacco
Even if tobacco sales continue their historic decline, Big Tobacco has another ace up their sleeves.
They have their tar-stained hands on mass-market e-cigarettes—the crappy little vape sticks that look like conventional cigarettes.
They are sold in convenience stores and gas stations across the country.
Because they operate on a completely different business model, they won’t be hurt like local B&Ms. Their model relies on low-cost, low-quality, disposable products sold in high quantities.
Most vape shops do not sell these cig-alikes, and most smokers never find success using this type of vaporizer.
And it’s exactly for this reason that tobacco companies have invested so heavily into them. Cig-a-likes allow tobacco companies to cash in on the vaporizer trend while still ensuring that smokers aren’t quitting.
If Bill 45 passes, smokers wanting to quit will be much more likely to try a low-cost Big Tobacco product than a complicated, expensive vaporizer they can’t even see before purchase.
Bill 45 plays directly into the hands (and pockets) of Big Tobacco while hurting the little guy.
4. It Ensures Skyrocketing Health Budgets
Despite what some vaping evangelists will tell you, vaporizers aren’t necessarily 100% safe. They are not the same thing as inhaling clean air. We may not know their full range of effects for several decades.
But according to Public Health England, electronic cigarettes are at least 95% safer than tobacco products.
Even if you are skeptical of some bolder claims made by vapers, you cannot deny the cold, hard fact that tobacco is a combustible product with 69 known carcinogens and hundreds of toxins.
Even if you buy into the media scaremongering of the past couple of years, you cannot deny that the handful of “harmful” substances found in electronic cigarettes are present in cigarettes as well, at 1,500 times the concentration found in vaporized e-liquid.
Vaporizers are objectively safer.
Are they completely safe? No one can say. But that is beside the point.
If our government manages to stifle the growth of vaporizers as an alternative to smoking, they will be ensuring tobacco’s long reigning spot as the number one cause of preventable death. The ultimate effect?
Our hospitals filled to the brim with lung cancer, COPD, and emphysema patients.
Our surgeons booked solid for operating on highly preventable diseases.
Our health budget spiraling ever upwards.
5. It Discourages Your Loved Ones From Switching
We recognize that vaping may have saved our lives.
And we are also keenly aware of all the ways in which our health improved since dropping the pack.
This is why vapers take this bill so personally. And why so many of us become such huge advocates (sometimes annoyingly so) for vaping.
We want you to take it personally too.
Even if you aren’t a smoker. Even if you’re skeptical of vaporizers. You need to think about your loved ones. Think of someone important to you who is still a smoker. A grandparent, a parent, or a sibling. Got someone in mind? Good.
On average, they are going to die 10 years early. This should upset you.
Our government is trying to kill their best chance of reducing this risk. This should make your blood boil.
If this bill passes in its current state, it will be much harder for them to get a vaporizer.
If they are older or less technologically savvy, they won’t be able to get the same level of guidance and support as is available now.
Furthermore, if this bill becomes law, it will signal to smokers that vaporizers are something to be avoided. It’ll give them the impression that vaporizers are no better than cigarettes. And this is flat-out incorrect.
The question is, wouldn’t you want your loved ones to have every opportunity possible to improve their health and life expectancy?
The good news is that none of this is set in stone.
Through the amazing work of the Vapor Advocates of Ontario, the incredibly generous donations of concerned B&M owners, and the passionate outcry of the vaping community, we may have a chance.
Ontario is currently taking comments on the proposed Bill 45. With only two weeks left before the fate of vaping is decided, vapers all over Ontario are on the edge of their seats.
If you are concerned with this proposed legislation, there is something YOU can do.
Tomorrow, Saturday, April 9th, the Vapor Advocates of Ontario are hosting a rally in Queen’s Park to protest Bill 45.
Many of the local B&M stores are organizing free transportation to the event.
Every voice makes a difference and amplifies our message—that we want to kill Bill 45 in its current form. Make sure to check this event out here.
If you aren’t able to make it, there’s something else you can do to help the cause.
A dedicated group of advocates have organized an email campaign aimed at the committee responsible for Bill 45. They have made it incredibly easy to have your voice heard.
Simply visit www.vapingisntsmoking.ca and fill in the short form to submit your concerns to the Ontario government.
What are you waiting for?
We have to kill Bill 45 (in its current form).