Dear Mr Prime Minister Trudeau
My name is Hal Edwards, we met briefly last week. I am writing this letter today because I am a concerned Canadian citizen and business owner in the Vaping Industry. I was present on Thursday May 11th at the Liberal party fundraiser and also in Laval for the Indo community celebration where you spoke on Friday night and I was very moved. You talked about the importance of the freedom we have in Canada. Unfortunately, I have a lot of concerns about Bill S-5, “An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.” These concerns are that this bill, as it stands right now, is infringing our freedom and our values in our beautiful country.
Bill S-5 states in Section 30.43 (2) that: “No person shall promote a product, including by means of the packaging, by comparing the health effects arising from the use of the product or from its emissions with those arising from the use of a tobacco product or from its emissions.” This goes against the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 and the fundamental rights of:” freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the Press and other media of communication. ” I truly believe that all the Canadian citizens have the right to know that vaping is 95% safer than tobacco use according to the Royal College of Physicians of England for example. Moreover, this proposed Section of the Bill also goes, in my view, against the constitutional rights of everyone “to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof.” Individuals and businesses should have no constraints on truthful non-misleading speech, particularly so when it can save the lives of so many Canadians.
I do believe that vaping products should indeed be regulated but not as part of the Tobacco Act. Vaping products are NOT tobacco products. If we look at what happened in Quebec since Bill 28, which has combined vaping products with tobacco products, 40% of the specialty shops have closed. Hundreds of people have lost their jobs and tens of thousands of people will not try this safer alternative to tobacco. Vaping products should be regulated rather than such products and millions of Canadian smokers being subjected to yet another abstinence-only campaign. We could take England as an example, where they encourage the use of vaping products, where advertisement is not prohibited and people and businesses can share scientific data. The rate of smoking in England has fallen to historic lows since they have adopted this strategy. How can we accomplish that if we cannot say that vaping products are safer to use than cigarettes, and stymie the development of new products? Vaping products should have a competitive advantage over cigarettes, in order to encourage life saving behaviour change. Regulation must be based on science rather than based on fear and moralism.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I am a true believer in democracy and freedom, and I know you are too Mr. Prime Minister. I hope something can be done to protect ours rights and values. At a time when we are recognising the right of Canadians to reduce the risks of using illicit drugs, and while celebrating the huge health gains made through auto safety, sanitary food standards and the promotion of safe sex practices, Canadian smokers should be able to easily access a safer product that can save millions of lives, including among many of our most vulnerable citizens.