Three of the most heavily funded producers of vapor products in Canada — JUUL Labs Canada, Imperial Tobacco Canada, and JTI Canada Tech — have founded VITA, the Vaping Industry Trade Association. What this means for Canada’s vaping industry, and who will join VITA given its connections to traditional tobacco companies, has yet to be seen.
Formed last spring, the association has already contracted lobbying firm One Persuasion and Public Relations firm National Public Relations. It has been reported that One Persuasion also has contracts to produce federal election advertisements for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers as well as for the Conservative Party.
VITA President Daniel David has stated that the purpose of founding VITA was to promote regulation which would reinforce efforts to keep vapor products out of the hands of minors while at the same time preserving consumer choice for adult smokers seeking vaping as a less harmful alternative. This means pushing for age verification at points of sale and products standards, but also resisting flavor bans and categorical bans like those enacted in several U.S. states, counties, and cities.
This sentiment is shared by the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, whose statement we have recently covered. That statement reads, in part:
“We cannot stand by and watch a new generation of Canadians become dependent on nicotine or be exposed to products that could have significant negative consequences for their health.”
One of VITA’s first lobbying efforts comes this week in Nova Scotia, where a flavor ban is being considered. Mr. David considers this to be a “nuclear option” for the industry, saying:
“Adults like the same kind of flavours kids do. It’s the wrong path. There are definitely a number of much more effective and productive solutions that need to be explored before we even consider anything like that.”
VITA has already had an introductory meeting with Health Canada, according to reporting from The Globe and Mail, and will have quite a work load ahead of it as regulatory proposals emerge across Canada.