Since December 3rd, the Court of Quebec has been the stage for an unprecedented legal battle. Canadian vaping associations are vocally contesting the 2015 legal resolution. This law, which groups tobacco products and e-cigarettes, has already cost vaping shops a great deal in Quebec.
It is rare for court battles to play out where the with pro-vape side is not the accused. But this is exactly what is taking place, with an appeals case put orth by Canadian and Quebecan associations. Their goal is to invalidate a number of clauses in the anti-smoking law. Electronic cigarettes are considered legally equivalent to smoking.
For Quebecan Vaping Associations (AQV in French), this decision put many independent and larger companies out of business. Specialised shops can no longer promote their wares, sell online, or even provide any method to sample e-liquids. Counter-intuitively, Health Canada have publicly stated that they consider vaping a viable means for smokers to reduce their exposure to toxic products.
Protecting the youth
Government-side prosecutors on the other hand are working to defend the 2015 law, more or less parroting the arguments that the FDA employed to justify regulations across the USA. Vaping is for many considered a gateway to smoking tobacco for minors. Despite this hard-line stance, no studies have proven this hypothesis.
The argument seems even more flimsy when you consider that the rate of vaping in younger populations is far lower in Canada compared to the USA. The Quebec government, however, has stated their intention to adopt “the precautionary principle”.
The Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control is favourable to the 2015 law. They encourage vaping companies to follow to the letter certification procedures put in place by Health Canada. The outcome of this legal battle will have a significant influence on the future of e-cigarettes in Quebec.