An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 of this enactment amends the Tobacco Act. In order to respond to the report of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health entitled Vaping: Toward a Regulatory Framework for E-Cigarettes, it amends the Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of vaping products and changes the title of the Act accordingly. It also amends certain provisions of the Act relating to tobacco products, including with respect to product standards, disclosure of product information, product sale, sending and delivery and product promotion. The schedule to the Act is amended to add menthol and cloves as prohibited additives in all tobacco products. As well, it adds new provisions to the Act, including in respect of inspection and seizure.

Part 1 also makes consequential amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

Part 2 of this enactment amends the Non-smokers’ Health Act to regulate the use of vaping products in the federal workplace and on certain modes of transportation.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here today to speak 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.

For nearly 55 years, the Canadian government has taken a position on cigarette smoking and protecting the health of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. When mounting scientific evidence clearly and conclusively demonstrated that cigarette smoking was a contributing cause of lung cancer and coronary heart disease, so began a half century of addressing the public health problems of tobacco use here in Canada.

At that time, about half of Canadians smoked. Currently, there are two federal acts that address tobacco products and their use at the federal level: the Tobacco Act, administered by Health Canada since 1997, and the Non-smokers' Health Act, administered by Employment and Social Development Canada. More recently, in 2001, the federal tobacco control strategy was introduced in Canada. It focused on smoking prevention for children and youth, smoking cessation, and second-hand smoke prevention. In 2005, Canada became party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

I am very proud of the Conservative Party's record on reducing tobacco smoking. When the Conservative government implemented measures in this area, the number of young people in Canada smoking tobacco was cut in half. Today, through the concerted efforts of government, public health agencies, national and local advocacy groups, and schools, the number of Canadians who smoke has been reduced to just 13%.

Bill S-5 aims to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers' Health Act by adding and regulating vaping products as a separate class. The bill goes a fair distance in addressing some very important public health questions, but there are some instances where I feel it does not go far enough. This is why I hope it gets closer examination at committee.

I think everyone here agrees that smoking is harmful. We want to reduce the number of people smoking and the harmful effects associated with it. We need to make sure these products are safe for Canadians. We also need to make sure we combat the crime involved in all of the things the bill addresses. We need to be concerned as well about the many economic impacts we might see as the bill is implemented. The vaping industry today is fully unregulated, and that is a problem if we are concerned about vaping products getting into the hands of children, and rightly so. I would like the industry to regulate it and I support this part of the bill. The recommendation to only make vaping products available to those over 18 is a very good idea.

With this legislation, we are faced with a question of how to regulate a new product on the market, the e-cigarette. In fact, there are conflicting opinions in Canada about what to do at this particular juncture: regulate, wait for more evidence, or ban the e-cigarette.

Since 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General has issued recommendations to legislate standards for the manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sales of e-cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that e-cigarettes are a rapidly emerging and diversified market class to deliver nicotine and flavourings, and presently surpass conventional cigarette use among youth. Bill S-5 would ensure that all restrictions of access and sale of tobacco cigarettes to those under 18 years of age would also apply to vaping products. These include the ban and sale of all vaping products to youth under the age of 18 years, no vending machine sales, and age verification with postal delivery for online purchases.

In addition, flavour ingredients that appeal to youth are prohibited, such as dessert, cannabis, and soft drinks. Also, the manufacture, promotion, and sale of vaping products with ingredients that give the impression they have positive health effects are prohibited, such as probiotics, caffeine, and vitamins. However, as of yet, no standards for maximum levels of nicotine contained in the vaping liquid have been established. I would encourage the committee to explore this through witness testimony, and here is why.

The Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey of 2014-15 found that 65% of students thought there was a “great risk” of harm from smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes on a regular basis. The survey found that only 12% thought there was “great risk” of harm from smoking e-cigarettes. Almost one in four students thought there was “no risk” of harm from using them once in a while and, sadly, one in six students had no idea whatsoever. Clearly we have our work cut out for us in educating young Canadians, which is why we cannot ignore standards for nicotine use in e-cigarettes.

There are four questions to be considered when examining the scientific evidence on vaping and e-cigarette health and safety: as I have already mentioned, as a gateway for youth to tobacco use; as an aid in smoking cessation; the toxicity of the emissions in the inhaled vapour; and potential risks from second-hand smoke exposure.

One concern is that the e-cigarette will actually serve as a gateway to tobacco addiction for young Canadians. A recent review by the University of Victoria suggests that tobacco use in the U.S., Canada, and other countries is declining significantly among 12- to 19-year-olds as vapour device use is increasing, unfortunately.

While three small studies have been done on the use of e-cigarettes as an aid in getting smoking down to the levels where it reaches almost zero, strong evidence is now lacking on whether or not there are serious adverse effects associated with e-cigarette use in the short term. The long-term safety of these devices remains largely unknown. There are also serious concerns about the health effects associated with vapour device emissions. I am positive vapour devices do not deliver tar, and their emissions do not contain 61 out of the 79 cigarette toxins; however, a recent 2016 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology identified more than 31 compounds generated with vaporizers, and stated many more have yet to be identified. Second-hand exposure to vapour from e-cigarettes has been tested to some extent and is found to be less toxic than cigarette smoke as it does not contain carbon monoxide or volatile organic compounds. However, the vapour does produce a measurable absorption of nicotine in bystanders, and how to measure that risk is not yet clear. All reviews of second-hand exposure have called for more testing to clarify the conflicting findings on the emissions of particulate matter, metals, and other substances.

As we all know, the government is intending to legalize marijuana in about 150 days. I find it interesting that as we are trying to modernize regulations about smoking, the government, even though it wants to reduce smoking, has added marijuana smoking to its must-do checklist. The Canadian Medical Association has come out with studies that show the harm to young people, as their brains are still developing. They see a 30% increase in schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, depression, anxiety, and addiction in young people who consume marijuana once a week. Both vaping marijuana and smoking marijuana are harmful. If we are talking about reducing overall harm, particularly to our young children, we need to make sure we do not incentivize young Canadians to use vaping products with marijuana. I urge the committee to examine this important matter and to bring amendments to this bill that would include marijuana.

Bill S-5 is a complex piece of legislation that also implements plain packaging for tobacco products. There are some inconsistences here that I believe need to be addressed at committee. There is inconsistency in the approach of packaging marijuana versus tobacco, for one. There are also concerns about quality control and how we would make sure to protect consumers from contraband versus the well-regulated and quality-controlled production of cigarettes.

In 2012, Australia was the first country to legislate plain packaging for cigarettes. The outcomes there were twofold. On the one hand, the number of Australians smoking slightly decreased; on the other, incidents of contraband cigarettes increased from 10% to 26%. In my home province of Ontario, it is estimated that 40% to 60% of cigarettes sold are contraband. It can also be bought all over the province. There are important consumer health considerations within the contraband cigarette market. There have been numerous complaints about the content of some of the contraband tobacco. We have heard stories about dirt, bugs, and animal manure being mixed in. From a quality control point of view, if a cigarette has absolutely no markings on it, we have no idea where the product came from. More than one in three cigarettes purchased in 2014 was an unregulated contraband product. If the aim of Bill S-5 is harm reduction and one instrument is plain packaging, I really think the committee needs to weigh plain packaging versus the health and safety risks of organized crime and tobacco cigarettes.

While no one would argue against the need to modernize these acts, we must form a view that weighs all intended and unintended consequences of Bill S-5.

I know that my time is up and I look forward to questions from my colleagues.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I am speaking today in regard to Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. We have heard today that everyone is committed to reducing the smoking of tobacco products, as it has been a proven health hazard. We support the regulation of vaping products, as well as other consumer products. However, some stakeholders have some legitimate concerns, and some things need to be looked at, so we support the bill going to committee to address these concerns.

I want to start by talking a bit about a conversation I had today. I have a 16-year-old, and I was having this conversation with her about smoking and marijuana around the schools, and so on. I asked her about vaping and what she thought about it. She told me she has an older friend who vapes, and he said she should not start, because if she started vaping, she would not want to stop. Coming from a 16-year-old and a young person who obviously is already addicted to it, it is good advice. We all have to consider the big picture. We all want to see less of these products used.

There are two parts to the bill. One part is on plain packaging and the rest is on vaping. The bill aims to build strong regulations and legislation that builds upon what our previous government has done. About 55 years ago, in 1963, Judy LaMarsh, Canada's minister of health, declared there is scientific evidence that cigarette smoking is a contributory cause of lung cancer and that it may also be associated with chronic bronchitis and coronary heart disease. It began half a century ago, addressing this public health problem of tobacco use in Canada, but also around the world. At that time, about 50% of Canadians smoked, and a lot has happened since then.

Personally, I am very proud to be part of a government where I served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health. We made some gains in that regard. We tackled the issues of smoking rates throughout the introduction of legislation to encourage smoking in Canada to decline. Today, approximately 13% of Canadians are smokers. Smoking is now at an all-time low, with most progress shown among our youth. Smoking rates of males aged 15 to 17 dropped from 19% to 10%, and those 18 to 19 years of age dropped from 33% to 20%, according to Stats Can statistics. Smoking rates of females aged 15 to 17 dropped from 22% to 9%, and those 18 to 19 years of age dropped from 34% to 19%. It is going in the right direction.

However, over the last few years e-cigarettes and vapes have been emerging on to the Canadian market, and they create a new set of challenges for Canadian lawmakers and health officials.

E-cigarettes were developed in 2003, apparently first in China. They were introduced in the U.S. in 2007. These e-cigarettes are part of a category of products called “electronic nicotine delivery systems”. The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device designed to look and feel like a traditional cigarette, and it is meant to deliver inhaled doses of a nicotine-containing aerosol to users. It does this by heating a solution commonly referred to as an e-liquid.

The vaping industry has been keen to share figures regarding the use of vapes among Canadians, and I would like to summarize a few of those stats. In Canada, in 2015, one in four Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 years reported having tried an e-cigarette, and one in three young adults between the ages of 20 to 24 had tried it.

Some of the research out there suggests that e-cigarettes are safer than combustible tobacco cigarettes, and that makes sense. In 2016, a total of 24 studies, including three randomized clinical trials, were reviewed. Two of the trials, with a total of 662 participants, so a good study, showed that people using e-cigarettes with nicotine were more likely to stop smoking for at least six months compared to those who received placebo e-cigarettes without nicotine. We are seeing some evidence that these may have a use, particularly for people who are trying to quit smoking.

Some of the research suggests that e-cigarettes are less harmful as they reduce exposure to combustible tobacco. For example, cardiovascular risks associated with smoke are dose-dependent. To reduce the number of cigarettes smoked from a pack a day to 10 cigarettes a day would reduce the risk. There is something to be said perhaps about vaping and e-cigarettes that have less of these combustibles.

Second-hand exposure to vapour from e-cigarettes has been tested, and to some extent have been found to be less toxic than cigarette smoke, as it does not contain carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds.

It is important to note that because nicotine is a drug, it is subject to the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and must be authorized by Health Canada prior to sale based on the evidence of safety and efficacy, things along these lines. To be clear, and people do not realize this right now, no vaping product has been authorized to date in Canada, and all nicotine-containing vaping products are being sold illegally. People do not understand that. That is why this debate is so important today, and it is important that we move the bill forward.

Of importance is that the restrictions on access and sale of tobacco cigarettes to those under age 18 would also apply to vaping products. To be clear, these are still unregulated products, and the average Canadian may not know a lot about them.

I want to thank my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, who I think is watching tonight, for an article he sent that calls for stronger vaping regulations. Here is a big shout-out to him to get better soon. We still do not know the long-term effects of these products, and we have to keep them out of the hands of our kids.

However, I have had the opportunity to witness a demonstration of the technology with people from the vaping industry in my riding of Oshawa. I watched these devices and the inhalable vapour. I had a conversation with them and I listened to them. Many vaping advocates champion vaping as an effective quitting mechanism for cigarettes. For some of these folks it works. They start with a certain nicotine percentage and eventually work their way down to lower amounts or nothing at all. A study on vaping done in the U.K. showed a 95% reduction in harm from vaping over regular tobacco products. This is something we have to keep in mind.

Another large aspect of the vaping industry is the flavours. This is going to be very controversial because this e-liquid can be made in almost any flavour, but are all these flavours safe? What do we know, and what do we not know?

We know that the vaping industry is totally unregulated and there are no government quality controls in place. In Canada, the majority of products on the market are regulated, so we have to move this forward. It is the sensible thing to do.

Another reason for regulating is the variety of products on the market. Many companies are creating new devices for sale in Canada, and e-cigarettes are no different. We are seeing new, emerging technologies from the tobacco industry aimed at reducing harm versus the traditional cigarette. These technologies are out there and they need to be properly regulated by the federal government.

These products are not the same as vapes. They heat tobacco without burning it to create a smoking sensation with less harmful methods of consumption. There has been some research to suggest that this is less harmful, with up to 75% harm reduction for these products. They could be viewed as positive trends in reducing harm and moving Canadians off smoking, but in order for this positive narrative to continue, we urge the government to regulate these things appropriately.

The second part of the bill is about plain packaging of cigarettes and the contraband and quality control issues that must be addressed. Let us review what we know about plain packaging in other countries.

There has been a lot of extrapolation about Australia. As a matter of fact, in 2012, Australia was the first country to legislate plain packaging, and in March of last year the World Health Organization released an executive summary, which said that Australia had witnessed a decline in smoking prevalence rates between 2010 and 2013. However, this decrease in Australia's national smoking rate had brought on an unintended increase in the import of contraband tobacco. As we are aware, Australia imports all of its tobacco, and the contraband part of it grew from 10% to 26%.

These things need to be addressed. According to a study by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, 30% of cigarettes sold in my riding of Oshawa are contraband. As my colleague said earlier, there is a lack of markings on these cigarettes and it is hard for the consumer. This is where we have to focus on consumer protection. We have seen an increase in contraband cigarettes, and we have heard the stories about cigarettes being contaminated with animal waste, dirt, and harmful bacteria.

We have heard about consistency. The Liberal government is going to be regulating marijuana. Unfortunately, it is not going to be consistent and have the same protections in here. I look forward to moving this legislation to committee so that we can address some of these issues.

I think all of us here in the House can agree that we need to do more to protect our kids from these smoking products.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Scarborough Southwest Ontario


Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here to begin the second reading debate on Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Bill S-5 was introduced into the other place last November by Senator Petitclerc. My sincere thanks to the senator for helping advance this legislation, and to the members of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for their work in reviewing this bill.

All members of this House are aware of the dangers associated with tobacco use. They also know that reducing the use of tobacco has been a primary public health goal of governments, at all levels, for decades.

My colleagues should also know that tobacco use is a significant economic burden on this country as well. It cost Canadian society approximately $16.2 billion as of 2012, the last year for which figures are available. That is $466 for every Canadian. These costs are for health care, responding to tobacco-related fires, policing contraband tobacco, research and prevention, and include lost productivity due to disability and premature death from tobacco use.

Bill S-5 will advance key elements of our government's comprehensive plan to strengthen tobacco control in Canada. These include the establishment of a new framework for regulating vaping products and facilitating the implementation of plain packaging for tobacco products.

Before I lay out details of the bill, I want to set out some broader context, so that members may appreciate the need for strengthening tobacco control and how the bill fits in within the broader health agenda.

When the federal tobacco control strategy was launched in 2001, Canada's tobacco control approaches were regarded as innovative and world leading. As a nation, we established an impressive track record in driving down tobacco use. Indeed, we established ourselves as a world leader in this area. Overall, our smoking rate has fallen, from 22% in 2001, to 13% in 2015. Since the launch of the federal strategy, all the provinces and territories have enacted their own tobacco control legislation and approaches. The combined efforts of federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments in tobacco control have been crucial to Canada's success to date. The decline in tobacco use in Canada means that fewer Canadians will die as a result. This is something we can all be proud of. However, we can always do better.

The sad fact is that 4.5 million Canadians still use tobacco. In 2015 alone, 115,000 Canadians became daily smokers. Approximately, 45,000 Canadians will die every year from tobacco-related illness, representing 18% of all Canadian deaths. That is one person every 12 minutes. By the time we finish with this speech, another Canadian will have passed away from a tobacco-related illness. The toll of tobacco-related preventable deaths is unacceptable. Our goal recognizes the need to establish a new regulatory framework, one that is firmly grounded on public health imperatives.

Canada has ceded the mantle of world leader in tobacco control to other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom. They have been quicker to adapt their tobacco control efforts to address the always-changing strategies that tobacco companies use to recruit new smokers. It is our government's intention to once again make Canada a world leader in tobacco control. That is why we have launched an ambitious tobacco-control agenda. This agenda has four main components.

First, our government published an order amending the Tobacco Act to ban the use of menthol in most tobacco products sold on the Canadian market. Evidence has shown that the use of these products makes tobacco more palatable. Tobacco companies have acted on this by introducing menthol products in far greater numbers. By implementing a ban on menthol, we have acted on the evidence as well. The changes we made expanded flavour restrictions to 95% of the entire tobacco market in Canada, helping to make tobacco products less appealing to youth. With Bill S-5, we are proposing to go further and ban it in 100% of tobacco products.

Second, our government has initiated work to modernize Canada's approach to tobacco control. The federal tobacco control strategy was set to expire on March 31, 2017. We have extended this deadline to March 2018 to allow more time to consult broadly and to fully examine all of the options. This past March, we convened a national forum, at which more than 150 stakeholders and partners discussed the future of tobacco control in Canada. We launched the forum by asking participants how we could best modernize Canada's approach to tobacco control. We also conducted an online public consultation on the future of tobacco control. Reaching our goal will require the support of all Canadians, including stakeholders, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, and indigenous peoples.

We heard from more than 1,800 individuals and organizations from across Canada. We heard that Canadians are tired of having their health and the health of their loved ones adversely affected by this highly addictive substance. They are ready to take action to prevent young people from taking up smoking, and they are ready to make a commitment to living healthier lives.

Third, our government has committed to implementing plain and standardized packaging for tobacco packages and products and to make them less attractive to our youth and other Canadians. This commitment was identified in the Minister of Health's mandate letter, and its implementation is a priority for our government.

Fourth, we have committed to addressing the growing market for vaping products. Regulating vaping is important to the health of Canadians, particularly in terms of protecting youth and preventing the potential renormalization of smoking. As I said earlier, our tobacco control strategy must remain up to date with the changing product trends.

Having provided details on our government's agenda for tobacco control, I would like now to take this opportunity to provide more details on the key aspects of Bill S-5.

Bill S-5 supports our commitment to implementing plain and standardized packaging for tobacco products. Tobacco packages are powerful promotional vehicles for the industry to communicate brand imagery. Research has shown that plain packaging measures, including the removal of logos, textures, colours, and brand image, help make tobacco products less appealing, especially to youth.

I firmly believe that tobacco companies should not be able to use attractive packaging to market a product that causes devastating, indisputable, and well-documented damage to people's health. Canadians agree, and they are ready to support action by the federal government that would discourage youth from starting to use tobacco products. As such, the bill would support the implementation of plain packaging of tobacco products by providing the authority to develop regulations to enable and facilitate this.

Bill S-5 will also help us respond to the rapid increase we have seen in the popularity of vaping products. Evidence has suggested that these new products, while harmful, would be less harmful than traditional tobacco products, and consequently they have the potential to bring about public health benefits if they reduce tobacco-related death and disease.

For smokers who are unable to quit, switching to a vaping product could be a way to reduce the harm that smoking has on their health and the burden that it places upon society. However, these products could also potentially lead to nicotine addiction to the use of tobacco products, and to the renormalization of smoking behaviour, reversing the gains we have made over the past 30 years.

Recent surveys conducted by Health Canada indicate that 26% of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 have tried an e-cigarette. This is a concern. Early exposure to nicotine can render an individual more susceptible to nicotine addiction and may have adverse consequences for brain development. Sadly, young people may not recognize the lifelong implications of experimenting with these products. Bill S-5 aims to strike a balance, allowing adult smokers to use vaping products which may provide them with a path away from the more deadly cigarette, while also protecting youth and non-users from being recruited into a lifelong addiction to nicotine.

The legislation proposes to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling, and promotion of vaping products with and without nicotine, including vaping devices and substances such as e-liquids. The bill would amend the Non-smokers' Health Act to protect those in federally regulated workplaces from the potential harms of second-hand vapour. The bill would also harmonize compliance and enforcement authorities for both tobacco and vaping products with other modern statutes administered by Health Canada.

Bill S-5 also contains provisions aimed specifically at protecting young people from vaping products. For example, the bill would restrict youth access to vaping products by prohibiting the sale of these products to youth under the age of 18. It would protect youth from inducements to using vaping products by prohibiting marketing practices known to be effective at targeting youth.

In these ways, Bill S-5 responds to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Health in its report entitled “Vaping: Towards a regulatory framework for e-cigarettes”.

Some people have been critical of Bill S-5 because they want to be able to promote vaping products as reduced-risk products. To address this concern, the other place proposed amendments to Bill S-5 to allow the government, through regulations, to set out exceptions for certain evidence-based statements regarding the relative health risks of vaping products. Once these regulations are in place, manufacturers and retailers would be allowed to use these statements in their promotions for vaping products. At the same time, Canadians would continue to be protected from deceptive or misleading claims on the health hazards of using vaping products.

We will also continue to invest in scientific research to better understand the health impacts of vaping and to gather data on how Canadians are using these products. In fact, Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are already collaborating to regularly generate data on vaping products which is used to inform policy and regulatory decisions.

Let me be clear. The evidence we have today indicates that while it is true that vaping products are less harmful than cigarettes, they are still potentially harmful. Bill S-5 would enable us to have stronger federal oversight to better protect Canadians from the negative health effects associated with using these products. Should Bill S-5 become law, Canada will join the ranks of some 60 countries that have already taken action to specifically regulate vaping products.

These international approaches range from minimal regulation to full bans. Despite these differences, many jurisdictions, including the European Union and the United States, are taking similar approaches to protecting youth from the dangers of nicotine addiction while allowing adult smokers to access vaping products.

In conclusion, the proposed legislation would allow our government to protect the health of Canadians by establishing a new framework for regulating the manufacture, sale, labelling, and advertising of vaping products in a flexible way that could be adjusted as our knowledge of these products evolves.

I would like to reiterate that vaping products are not harmless, and that the evidence on nicotine is clear. It is particularly harmful to young people. Given these facts, our government is committed to taking action and to balancing the needs of Canadians through this legislation.

Bill S-5 takes into consideration both the health harms, and the potential public health benefits of vaping products. It aims to protect youth and non-users of tobacco products from inducements to use tobacco, and it would allow adults to legally access vaping products as a less harmful alternative to tobacco.

Bill S-5 also supports our government's efforts to implement plain and standardized packaging requirements for tobacco products. It is a critical piece of our government's tobacco control agenda. If passed, Bill S-5 would contribute to reducing tobacco use in Canada and allow for the regulation of vaping in a way that protects the health and safety of Canadians.

Our government is committed to charting a new course of action in tobacco control that contributes to our overall vision for a healthy Canada. It is critical that we work together to address one of our most challenging and enduring public health problems. Accordingly, I encourage all members to support Bill S-5 at second reading and refer it to the Standing Committee on Health for further study.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here today to speak to Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. There are two parts to the bill. One speaks to the plain packaging issue and the rest to vaping.

I am going to take my usual approach and say what I like about the bill and what I do not like, and then discuss things I think we should consider as we move the bill forward.

I am very proud of the Conservative Party's record on reducing tobacco smoking. When the Conservative government implemented measures in this area, the number of young people in Canada smoking tobacco was cut in half. That is admirable. Smoking rates overall under our government fell to an all-time low of 13%. I think everyone in the House would admit that we know that smoking is harmful. We want to reduce the number of people smoking and the harmful effects associated with it. However, that is not the only consideration in the bill. We also need to make sure that we reduce the crime involved in all of the things the bill addresses. We need to be concerned as well about any of the economic impacts we might see as the bill is implemented.

With respect to the vaping industry, it is possible that people are not very familiar with vaping. I had a number of people in the industry come to me and demonstrate all the neat devices one can use to take either glycol, water, or some additives and heat them to a vapour that one can inhale. A number of things are being vaped. In some cases, people use vaping to get off smoking. They start with a concentrated nicotine liquid and over time reduce the concentration of that nicotine liquid. The act of vaping sort of satisfies their smoking need, and over time they actually can quit smoking.

In addition to that, there are different flavours that have been allowed. People are vaping flavours for different reasons, some to get off smoking, and some to address other situations. Folks who are diabetic or morbidly obese apparently prefer to vape something that has a sweet flavour to it, because then they are not really receiving any calories but are addressing one of their compulsive needs.

This is the information that has been shared with me by the vaping industry. On the other hand, the vaping industry today is totally unregulated. That is a problem, because in Canada we regulate pretty much everything else: food, drugs, etc. We are also concerned about vaping products getting into the hands of children, so we would like to see the industry regulated. That is a part of the bill I do like. We need to regulate this industry. The recommendation to only make making vaping products available to those over 18 is a very good idea.

We also need to make sure that as we deal with this, we take into consideration all of the different types of devices. This is an area where the technology is changing. One of the points raised earlier was that e-cigarettes need to be in this category. However, even within the tobacco industry, there is growing science to reduce harm. Therefore, one of the products that is not currently addressed by this legislation, but needs to be addressed somewhere, is nicotine sticks, the actual tobacco sticks that are heated. They are not being combusted. It is not a smoking phenomenon; it is a heating phenomenon. The research that has been done by that industry shows there is a 75% harm reduction from these products. Somewhere, these products need to be addressed, but they are not really addressed today by this legislation. I have heard some conversation suggesting that they would remain under the tobacco part of the legislation, but that would not give them a fair playing field, because they would be competing with the vaping products.

The vaping products that are out there need to be regulated. We need to be concerned about how these things will be promoted and sold. Today, unregulated vaping shops have arisen. The regular convenience stores are not able to get into that market, so the input from the Canadian Convenience Stores Association is that whatever rules are put in place, they would like to be able to partake and participate in that market. That is a reasonable concern.

One of the studies done in the U.K. on vaping shows a 95% reduction in harm from vaping over smoking regular tobacco. This is definitely moving in the direction of reduced harm. I am concerned that if we are too restrictive about advertising those benefits, it might be a mistake. We want people to stop smoking. That is one of the main drivers of all the things we are talking about today, so that is something that needs to be considered as well.

I will move on to the plain packaging side of the story. The history of that is an implementation that was done in Australia. The outcomes were twofold. One, there was a slight reduction in the number of people smoking tobacco. I believe there were 100,000 fewer people smoking tobacco over a three-year period. However, there was an increase in contraband. Australia does not produce its own tobacco. It imports everything. Within that, contraband grew from 10% to 26%. That is concerning, especially when we look at how that compares to Canada.

We have quite a contraband problem in the tobacco industry in Canada. In fact, in Ontario, it is estimated that 40% to 60% of cigarettes sold are contraband. I know in my own riding, there are smoke shops literally everywhere where people can buy illegal contraband tobacco. It is simply not being enforced by the police today. Many of the first nations in my riding are the ones putting forward this product. I understand the sensitivity of that.

If we are going to go to plain packaging, there are consumer health considerations, because there have been numerous complaints about the content of some of this contraband tobacco. We have heard stories about dirt, sweepings, and animal manure. From a quality control point of view, as was pointed out earlier, if a cigarette has absolutely no markings on it, we have no idea if it was made by a well-regulated industry or if it was made in someone's barn. That is a concern for me. We have a lot of regulation in every other area of food and drugs, and this should be no different.

The other thing that is sort of hypocritical on the part of the government has to do with a discussion I participated in on the health committee with respect to marijuana and whether plain packaging would be appropriate for it. To start, organized crime is already participating in this market. There is lovely packaging, with all kinds of colours, and people are becoming brand loyal, especially in the edibles market. The idea was that if plain packaging was introduced, it would not be competitive with what is already in place from organized crime. The discussion was that they would not move to plain packaging.

I do not know how one could make that argument on that side and not on the tobacco side, with a 40% contraband market in Ontario, and I believe, about 30% across the country. That bears a bit of discussion, because what we are really talking about is competing harms. There is the harm reduction we are going to get from going to plain packaging for smoking versus the harm increase from not having quality control for that product, plus the harm from the organized crime interactions. We have to take a bit of a holistic view when we look at that.

A number of organizations are weighing in on this legislation. We looked to the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation for their input on this.

The Canadian Cancer Society said, “We applaud the federal government's commitment to implement plain and standardized packaging for tobacco and are writing to encourage speedy adoption of the regulations. Plain packaging for tobacco products would prevent tobacco companies from using packs as mini billboards promoting tobacco.

“Despite the fact that smoking rates have declined by more than half, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing 37,000 Canadians every year. We're deeply concerned by Canada's unacceptable high rates of smoking, especially among youth.

“Health Canada's tobacco strategy expires in March 18. I urge you to strengthen this strategy through better funding to allow for stronger initiatives and greater impact through modernization of the outdated federal Tobacco Act, that is almost 20 years old, and through the speedy adoption of plain-packaging regulations.”

We see that these organizations see some merit in plain packaging, but obviously, they share similar concerns about controlling quality. It may be that we want to have some kind of government-approved mark on cigarettes that would at least allow the consumer to differentiate between something that is contraband and something that is not. That said, we know that those in organized crime are quite clever, and if we put a mark on something, they could easily copy it. We see that we even have counterfeit money, so that may not fix that concern.

Some of the other things I want to talk about have to do with the recommendations specific to packaging. There was discussion about having an optional alphanumeric code used for product identification. I think it should actually not be optional. It would mean there would be a number system on each cigarette, with letters referring either to Canada or to the province or territory where it is sold, such as AB for Alberta, or CA overall, or CA-ON for Canada-Ontario. Having a set of numbers would be another prevention tactic that could be used to try to keep contraband out of the market. It is worth considering.

Bill S-5 also would not allow the tobacco industry to introduce the harm-reducing products it is coming forward with under the vaping legislation. They would be required to be under the tobacco legislation, which is more onerous, from a product introduction point of view. That includes getting products approved, getting products added to the list, and the amount of scientific evidence businesses have to bring about health and other impacts, including environmental. I would say that there needs to be a fairer playing field between them.

Let us talk a bit about marijuana, because the government is intending to legalize marijuana in July 2018. It seems to me that it is a totally hypocritical approach. We are trying to modernize regulations about smoking, and the Liberals, even though they want to reduce smoking, have added marijuana smoking to the list of things they want to do.

I am certain that the Liberals would want to bring amendments to this bill that would include marijuana so that it is clear, because people are vaping marijuana, and they are smoking marijuana. Both are harmful. The Canadian Medical Association has come out with studies that show the harm to young people as their brains are developing. They see a 30% increase in schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, depression, anxiety, and addiction in young people who consume marijuana once a week. If we are talking about reducing overall harm, it would be a concern to me to bring marijuana into this whole thing. That speaks again to having measures in place to make sure that young people do not get hold of these products.

At convenience stores today, cigarettes are kept behind the counter. People cannot see them. I am not sure that on top of that we actually need plain packaging. People cannot see the packaging, so I do not think those who are smoking are really buying cigarettes on brand loyalty. Considerations that might be important are actually more about regulating size. Companies have started to come out with slender packs of cigarettes, with cigarettes that are skinnier and that come in little ladylike packages. Even if they make the package plain, allowing that different size gives the illusion that somehow smoking will make people skinny. I do not know that this is always true, although we do see quite often that when people stop smoking, they gain weight, so there might be something to it.

I think that is certainly an enticement, and for women who want to carry cigarettes around in their purse, it is quite convenient. It is an incentive to smoke. We want to look at all those things and say that perhaps that is not the right idea.

We also need to give consideration to the existing industry. In Canada, we have a number of tobacco producers, and they have seen job losses over the years. They recognize that eventually we want to eliminate all smoking. However, they have an export business, and there is a demand out there. Therefore, we need to be sensitive to the impact on jobs. One of the questions their representatives asked me when they came to visit had to do with their ability to produce a colourful package to export. It is not clear in this legislation whether that would be allowed, because we would only allow the production of plain packaging. There would have to be some sort of exemption to allow them to continue to supply cigarettes for export. Otherwise, it would hurt their businesses, and obviously there would be job reductions. That is an economic concern.

There are also members who have tobacco growers in their ridings who will be concerned about the impact of any changes that come out of this bill. We need to give consideration to that as well.

There is a lot to consider and discuss in this bill. There are some good things in the bill, such as the fact that the vaping industry would be regulated, and we would be able to put in some protections to make sure that children were not accessing vaping products. We would be able to make sure that retailers that cannot participate in the industry could start to participate, which could be a good outcome.

However, we see that on the plain packaging side, there are a lot of inconsistencies. There is inconsistency in the approach we would use for marijuana versus tobacco. There are concerns about quality control and how we would make sure to protect consumers from contraband versus the well-regulated and quality-controlled production of cigarettes. There is the whole area of the new technology and trying to create a fair playing field for that.

I am impressed to see the tobacco companies coming forward with multiple generations of new products that are not smoked tobacco that are used to get people to ultimately reduce their nicotine intake and get off this drug. However, right now the constraints on them, because they are regulated as smoked tobacco products, are not helping them move in the right direction, which is the direction we want to see people go. We want people to stop smoking. We know that smoking is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. We want to make sure that we do everything we can to help the industry as we transition to products that transition Canadians from smoking.

At the same time, we need to make sure that we do not incentivize young Canadians with the marijuana legislation that is being introduced, which includes the message that kids aged 12 to 17 can possess up to five grams. That is the wrong message. There are a lot of children and young people who do not understand that marijuana is harmful to them. We need to get that public education message out there. We need to make sure that we control all these products so that when they start to be used with marijuana, there are not unintended consequences. I do not think there is a lot of research, for example, on the concentration of marijuana one can vape safely. I think that is an area of concern, especially when we see some of the contaminated supplies of marijuana that exist and that probably will continue to exist.

For all of those reasons, I think there is enough good in this bill that it is worth talking about. However, as members can see, there are a lot of areas of concern that would have to be sorted out at committee. As one of the members of the health committee, I look forward to helping sort through them to see whether we can address these issues and come out with a bill that, at the end of the day, will do more good for Canadians than harm.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has no complaints about Bill S-5 and supports it at second reading. The purpose of the bill is to create a new legislative framework for regulating vaping products and implement plain and standardized packaging.

We have long called for effective, concrete anti-tobacco measures to discourage young people from starting to smoke. The NDP is clearly a leader on this front. We have long called for plain packaging and a regulatory framework for vaping products.

In 2009, the former health critic, the member for Winnipeg North, introduced a bill to close loopholes in the Tobacco Act by tightening requirements for the labelling, packaging, and sale of flavoured tobacco products. In the last election campaign, we promised to introduce anti-smoking measures, increase funding for anti-smoking strategies, implement plain packaging, and ban all flavoured tobaccos.

We also talked about the need to initiate a federal review to strengthen Canada's tobacco control legislation and strategy, which expires in 2018. It is clear that our demands were heard because it is now illegal to use flavourings and additives in tobacco products, even though the Conservatives did not weigh in on the tobacco issue during the 2015 election campaign. We also hope that the government will support this bill, and that we will be able to work together to implement it and improve the health of Canadians.

According to the Canadian Community Health Survey published in March 2017, over 5 million Canadians aged 12 and older smoke either daily or occasionally. Over 18% of Quebec residents smoke, exceeding the national average. In response to the 2015 report of the Standing Committee on Health, this bill would effectively combat smoking and vaping, particularly among youth. This would have a positive impact on Canadians' health, especially lung health.

Smoking is the leading cause of disease and premature death in Canada. The annual health care cost per smoker in Canada is over $3,000, which adds up to $17 billion a year. If passed, this bill could save money by reducing smoking rates in Canada. Studies show that people with a psychiatric disorder are two to four times more likely to smoke than the general population. More than 80% of those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are smokers.

There is no doubt that tobacco causes serious illnesses and a number of problems that can lead to death. One Canadian dies from tobacco-related illness every 14 minutes. That is unacceptable. This is why we are supporting this bill and why we are urging the other parties to do the same. Anti-smoking groups rightly point out that the longer we wait to pass a bill like this one, the more people will start to smoke and the more people will die from the consequences of tobacco use.

This bill would rename the Tobacco Act as the “tobacco and vaping products act”. Vaping is a more recent problem, and we must regulate the use of these products. Vaping products are indeed less harmful than cigarettes. According to a study by Public Health England, e-cigarettes are estimated to be 95% less harmful than tobacco and could help smokers stop smoking. E-cigarettes are the most well-known and most popular vaping product. They first appeared in Canada in 2007.

Although there are regulations in place, it is difficult to restrict access to e-cigarettes. There is no evidence as of yet indicating that e-cigarettes encourage young people and non-smokers to start consuming nicotine. However, we still lack information on these and other vaping products, since they are new to the market. These products and their different flavours may seem enticing, especially to young people.

The 2015 Canadian tobacco, alcohol and drugs survey found that nearly 15% of Canadians aged 15 and older have already tried e-cigarettes, an increase over the percentage reported in 2013.

If this bill is passed, the ban on tobacco sales to persons under the age of 18 will also be extended to vaping products, and it will also be illegal to promote vaping products by referencing specific flavour descriptions or ingredients that suggest health benefits, because this would be considered false advertising.

It will also be illegal to promote vaping products to young people using tobacco brands or information-based advertising. Labels on these products must carry warnings regarding their nicotine content and the health problems they can cause.

These measures are less restrictive than those applied to tobacco, since these products are considered less harmful for now. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration has grouped vaping products and tobacco products together under one regulation. It is vital that vaping products do not become a new source of nicotine addiction, that they are used only to reduce the harmful effects of smoking, and that young people's access to them is restricted. That is why this bill creates a regulatory framework for these products.

Linda Bauld, a British cancer prevention research expert, said that free stop smoking services are the most effective way to quit, but she recognized that e-cigarettes may help many people stop smoking.

The only downside to this bill is the fact that vaping product manufacturers will be able to promote their products everywhere, which is bound to attract young teens. Some provinces and territories, including Quebec, have different, stricter rules about this. In Quebec, vaping products can be advertised only in newspapers and magazines aimed at adults, not children. Bill S-5 will have to harmonize with provincial laws on that score.

Vaping products may help reduce tobacco consumption, but it is important to remember that using them does not break the smoking habit. Maison Alcôve, a well-known addiction treatment centre in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, made it clear that the only way a smoker will stop smoking is by breaking those habits, those daily rituals. Smoking an e-cigarette is still smoking. Using vaping products to reduce tobacco consumption has limitations we need to consider.

If this bill passes, manufacturers would be required to submit to the Minister of Health information on sales and the ingredients in the vaping products, to ensure follow-up. The 2015 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health regarding vaping contained 14 recommendations, including one to create a legislative framework for vaping products. This bill follows on those recommendations.

Bill S-5 would also require plain packaging for tobacco products, a requirement Australia enacted in 2012, followed by France and the U.K. in 2016. The NDP wants us to adopt the strictest packaging system in the world in order to combat the effects of tobacco on the health of Canadians. This measure is also being considered by many countries such as South Africa, Sweden, and Singapore. It is one of the measures we promised to implement during the 2015 election campaign.

Plain packaging is an effective way to reduce tobacco use, dissuade young people from smoking in the first place, and limit exposure to second-hand smoke, which can have an adverse effect on non-smokers. Plain packaging would also help standardize the appearance and format of all tobacco products and get rid of logos and trademarks. The colours on the packaging would be neutral and health warnings would always be included. Plain packaging has been proven to make health warnings more effective.

Canadians will therefore be better informed of the health risks of tobacco and will be more aware that it is a dangerous product.

Just look at the impact that plain packaging had in Australia and you can see that this measure is essential to reducing tobacco use. Australia experienced the largest-ever decline after plain packaging was introduced. According to David Hammond, from the University of Waterloo, plain packaging resulted in more than 100,000 fewer Australian smokers. If plain packaging were to have the same impact in Canada, that would translate to 190,000 fewer smokers. These figures were taken from 100 different scientific studies. Scientific evidence shows that plain packaging would help significantly lower the number of smokers.

Fourteen studies on the impact of plain packaging in Australia were published in a British Medical Journal supplement. All of these studies found that plain packaging makes cigarettes less attractive to young people, and it did not lead to increased use of tobacco or contraband tobacco. Instead, the initiative pushed smokers to try to stop. Plain packaging makes tobacco less appealing.

According to research carried out in the Australian state of Victoria, smokers perceive plain-packaged cigarettes to be lower in quality and therefore less satisfying. As a result, they are more likely to consider quitting. Tobacco packages are currently designed to be appealing and eye-catching to make consumers forget that tobacco is a deadly and addictive product. I agree with Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, who said that it is wrong for an addictive, deadly product like tobacco to be marketed in packages that are designed to be attractive. This is clearly not normal.

This bill would put an end to this practice by introducing plain packaging requirements. This measure has received the support of many organizations and associations, such as the Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco, a group with many members who specialize in the issue of tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. The coalition's representatives provided a committee with a document demonstrating that plain packaging has the support of more than 340 organizations across the country. A coalition of over 200 Quebec organizations, including the City of Montreal and the Quebec division of the Canadian Cancer Society, has also expressed support for plain and standardized packaging. This shows that this measure is universally supported.

Some people might be concerned about the problem of counterfeiting plain packaging. We can look to Australia for an example, where neither the Australian border services agency nor the tobacco industry identified any counterfeiting problems since plain packaging was introduced. Investigations even found the opposite, that is, fewer instances of counterfeit packaging of foreign brands. As for the concerns of convenience store owners, once again using Australia as an example, studies found that Australian retailers quickly adapted to the new measures regarding plain packaging and that cigarette pack retrieval times did not really increase at all.

The bill also contains other provisions. Indeed, the Non-smokers' Health Act, which seeks to protect those in federally-regulated workplaces, will be amended to ensure that vaping products are subject to the same prohibitions as tobacco products.

Bill S-5 also harmonizes compliance and enforcement authorities with those found in other modern statutes, including the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. These authorities would apply to both vaping and tobacco products. This would allow inspectors to use telewarrants and enter private property in carrying out an inspection, while accompanied by any person qualified to conduct the inspection. They could also require manufacturers to keep records, and stop or move any means of transportation for the purpose of inspection.

The Senate adopted 10 amendments to Bill S-5. Eight of them are largely technical. One amendment requires the Minister of Health to undertake a review of the operations of the act and to table a report in both houses of Parliament.

The final amendment would make menthol and cloves prohibited additives in all tobacco products.

I want to emphasize the fact that disadvantaged and marginalized populations are the easiest targets and, unfortunately, they tend to consume more tobacco than the general population. They are also more likely to suffer from tobacco-related diseases. For example, 40% of first nations people smoke, and 37% of people who are divorced or separated smoke. We can no longer allow these groups to be targeted. That is why we have to focus our anti-smoking programs and services on them. We have to implement strategic measures to improve social conditions and reduce the social and environmental factors that promote tobacco use. The end goal is to reduce the gap in health status between general and disadvantaged populations caused by serious tobacco-related diseases.

Canada needs to get with the times and look to laws passed in Australia, France, England, and other countries that have implemented plain packaging, prohibited the use of terms with positive connotations that encourage people to use tobacco, and regulated the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Youth are also affected by this. Young people usually start smoking during adolescence. They are an easy target because they are easily influenced and find the packaging appealing.

This bill will make it possible to minimize tobacco use and nicotine addictions among young people. As a result, it will also reduce the percentage of smokers.

In 2014, at the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention, the World Health Organization urged its member countries to pay particular attention to young people and vulnerable groups when it comes to tobacco.

The main goal of this bill is to protect young people by discouraging them from smoking and by giving adults access to tobacco substitutes, such as vaping products. Passing this bill would be a major step forward in reducing tobacco use and would improve the health of Canadians.

It would be very unfortunate if this bill were not passed because we really need regulations and measures like the ones set out in Bill S-5 to successfully reduce tobacco use. However, we also need to make young people aware that they can choose not to use tobacco. We need to get them to think about what they are taking into their bodies and make sure that they know how to say no.

Parents also need to be educated about this, so that they stop trivializing smoking and realize that, yes, smoking is dangerous.

An organization in my riding called Satellite and one in Acton Vale called Horizon soleil are tyring to educate younger kids about these issues beginning in elementary school. Education will have a stronger impact and must go hand in hand with passing Bill S-5 in order to effectively reduce the number of smokers in Canada.

I have discussed this bill with some of the stakeholder organizations in my riding, including the ones I just mentioned, Satellite and Horizon soleil, which start educating children in elementary school, as well as their teachers and parents, regarding the harmful effects of using tobacco and the importance of not using it as teenagers, and especially not in elementary school. We really need to have a strict law, because young people are drawn to these products, with their colourful packages and different flavours. We need to make sure they do not ever start smoking. We all know people in our lives who want to stop using tobacco. We know how hard it is. We need to focus on prevention so that they do not start using tobacco.

As I was saying in my speech, I have spoken with stakeholders and the director of Maison l'alcôve, a very reputable addiction prevention centre in my riding. They were saying how hard it is to address this problem because it is a matter of breaking daily habits.

My NDP colleagues and I would like this bill to be passed.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I will be sharing my time with the member for Haldimand—Norfolk.

I am addressing Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. The possible implications of this bill are not conclusive but should be investigated by the Standing Committee on Health.

Our party strongly supports reducing smoking among all Canadians, especially our youth. This has been reflected in the numerous policies we put forward while in government.

Vaping, which is often considered a healthier alternative to smoking, is addressed in this bill. Although it may be healthier, nicotine is still an addictive substance, which requires public education on the associated risks and numerous regulations on access. Establishing plain packaging policies for tobacco products is one of the other primary components of this bill.

There is currently conflicting research on the market impacts of this bill, and therefore there should be thorough studies obtained. We need to ensure that this bill will in fact do what it is intended to do: lower smoking rates. We must also consider alternative tobacco products. Although some may be substantially healthier than smoking, the industry has been unable to demonstrate that or market these products to consumers, because they are considered tobacco products. This dilemma should be explored.

Smoking is harmful, and we are proud to support policies that reduce the rate of smoking in Canada. The previous Conservative government introduced numerous measures to curb smoking rates. These included larger, updated warning labels; the banning of flavours attractive to children; the removal of loopholes exploited by large tobacco companies; and heightened regulations on advertising. As a result of these policies, we were able to get Canada to an all-time low smoking rate, I am proud to say. Smoking rates for adolescent males dropped by almost 40%, and by 44% for adolescent females. We believe that these fortunate declines in smoking rates among adolescents were a direct result of these policies.

We strongly believe in the health and safety of all Canadians and further minimizing smoking, and vaping may be an opportunity to do so.

The safety of vaping has had minimal research. However, it is certainly a large improvement over conventional cigarettes. The smoke of conventional cigarettes contains significantly more dangerous substances, many of which are carcinogenic, including tar, benzene, cadmium, and arsenic. Although e-cigarettes have been found to contain levels of cancer-causing compounds, such as nitrosamines and formaldehyde, the level at which these chemicals are found are about a thousand times lower than they are in conventional cigarettes. Some studies have even proven that vaping has the ability to assist individuals in quitting smoking. Because some e-cigarettes come with assorted amounts of nicotine, individuals are able to gradually step down their intake and eventually quit completely.

With the legalization of nicotine in vaping products such as e-cigarettes, education and research are imperative. Nicotine is still a harmful substance, even if it is not smoked. According to Health Canada, nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, lowers the body temperature of the extremities, alters brain waves, and relaxes muscles, not to mention that it is a highly addictive substance. With addictive substances, individuals are prone to withdrawal symptoms up to a month following quitting. These symptoms include dizziness and shakiness, headaches, anxiety and irritability, nervousness and restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, increased appetite, slight depression or feeling down, and increased cravings.

We need to ensure that sufficient education is done on the risks associated with nicotine. Most individuals know that smoking is hazardous and causes cancer, but the public must also understand the risks associated with other nicotine technologies.

The bill also intends to implement plain packaging for the tobacco industry, similar to what was employed by Australia. However, Australia had inconsistent results following their implementation in 2012. Essentially, it removed trademarks, logos, non-prescribed colours and graphics, allowing only the use of a brand name and a prescribed size and font. When Australia reviewed the policy in 2016 to determine if smoking rates had declined, some experts observed that there was nothing statistically significant to suggest that smoking rates had lowered as a result of applying plain packaging to tobacco products.

Although plain packaging has had a negligible impact on smoking rates, it has had a major impact on market dynamics. Since it is now more difficult to tell the difference between tobacco brands, the price of cigarettes has become more of a determining factor. There has been a marked drop in the sale of premium brands and a marked increase in the sale of lesser known brands. Many premium brands have been taken off the market and become obsolete.

According to some reports, contraband tobacco has also become more popular since plain packaging policies have come into effect. However, professionals in the field actively dispute this supposed rise in popularity because the reports in question were commissioned by tobacco companies and are most likely biased.

The Canadian Cancer Society does not believe that plain packaging has led to an increased use of contraband tobacco and it maintains that Canada's advanced tax stamp system prevents counterfeiting.

Technological advancements also make us reflect on what is included in the definition of tobacco products and vaping products. The bill seeks to recognize that vaping products are a healthier alternative to tobacco products. It also recognizes that there are some so-called tobacco products, at least technically, that the scientific community regards as healthier alternatives.

The Standing Committee on Health needs to examine the possibility of allowing businesses to promote those products to consumers, or at least to people who have no intention of quitting smoking.

The United Kingdom and New Zealand expanded the scope of their definition regarding healthier alternatives that could replace nicotine and tobacco use. A wide range of replacement products can be found all around the world, including heat-not-burn cigarettes, moist smokeless tobacco, and nicotine soluble and inhalable products.

We must look at the potential impact of the sale and promotion of these products to target groups. We must make sure that Canadians are familiar with alternatives to using tobacco, particularly people who have no desire to quit smoking. If they manage to adopt a healthier habit, this will likely help bring down health care costs in Canada, which could also increase efficiency.

There is a lot to consider with the bill and it is imperative that answers are provided to the unknowns I have just mentioned. Consequently, I suggest the bill to go to committee to receive a compressive examination. As parliamentarians, we have a duty to do our best at improving the health of Canadians. I believe the bill, with proper oversight, has the potential to do so.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my thoughts to this important discussion on Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

One of the most important roles of any government is to protect the health and the safety of its citizens. As Conservatives, we have always taken this very seriously.

The previous Conservative government took a number of steps to improve the health of Canadians by funding and implementing various programs to reduce the smoking rate in Canada. Some of these initiatives included tightening advertising restrictions, banning flavoured cigarettes, which were seen as attractive to children, and introducing regulations for larger and updated warning labels. In fact, under the previous Conservative government, smoking rates among youth aged 15 to 19 decreased to 11%, representing the lowest rate recorded for this age group since Health Canada first reported smoking prevalence.

We invested over $650 million to reduce the smoking rate across all ages and partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society, providing it $5 million in partnership to launch the “Break it Off” tobacco cessation campaign to encourage young adults to quit smoking. These were positive concrete steps that were taken to help Canadians lead healthier lives, but Bill S-5 goes in a totally different direction.

As it is currently written, Bill S-5 plans to make two key changes to the Tobacco Act. The first change is to introduce a framework into the Tobacco Act that would regulate vaping products. The second key change is to implement plain packaging requirements for tobacco products.

I understand the stated goal behind Bill S-5 is to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to reduce youth smoking. However, as I read it, the bill quite frankly could do much more harm than good.

As I mentioned, Bill S-5 plans to implement plain packaging regulations that will see the outside packaging for cigarettes standardized as well as the cigarette stick itself. That means there will be no branding whatsoever. As a result, people who choose to smoke will not be able to tell one brand from another, either from the package or from the cigarette. Nor, indeed, will they be able to tell whether they have bought a legal product. In fact, law enforcement agencies will not be able to tell the difference either.

The government claims that this is designed to make the cigarettes less attractive to young people. That will in turn lower the youth smoking rate. I am concerned, on a number of fronts, that this portion of the legislation in particular will have just the opposite result.

My first concern is the impact that the plain packaging regulations could have on the contraband tobacco market in Canada. The reason why this market is a concern is that it is unregulated, unlicensed, and untaxed. Not only does the government lose an estimated $2 billion a year in taxes from the sale of illegal cigarettes, but the money that is made off them is used to fund very highly organized crime in Canada and abroad.

There are parts of our great country where contraband tobacco is big business. In some areas, it is reliably estimated that as much as 80% of cigarettes smoked are contraband. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that there are also areas where the illegal cross-border trade of cigarettes between Canada and the U.S. is a serious and sometimes even a deadly business. That is how big the stakes are.

What does plain packaging have to do with contraband tobacco? By having a generic package for all cigarettes, it will make it much easier for contraband producers both to counterfeit and also to sell their own product, with little chance of getting caught.

This leads me to a second issue surrounding the safety of Canadians and their right to know what they are ingesting.

As the contraband tobacco market is unregulated, there is no way to determine, much less control, the chemical make-up of its cigarettes. Because the packaging and the cigarette stick will be indistinguishable from one brand to the next, Canadians who choose to smoke will not only be unable to tell whether they are receiving their brand, but they will also be unable to determine whether they are receiving legal, counterfeit, or a contraband product. Since there is no way to control what chemicals are actually in these cigarettes, this could result in negative health impacts for Canadians and cause even more harm instead of reducing it. Believe me, some contraband cigarettes have been known to have some rather nasty stuff in them.

To get back to the government's stated goal of harm reduction, I also have a serious concern regarding the wording within the legislation that bans companies from saying that one product is less harmful than another. For example, the harmful chemicals that enter a person's body when smoking do so mostly once the cigarette is ignited. There are currently products available that simply heat the tobacco instead of igniting it, which significantly reduces exposure to much of the harmful chemicals. These products have been proven to be significant aids to quitting smoking. However, if this legislation passes, Canadians will not even get to know about these products.

The second half of this legislation deals with vaping products, which have also been deemed to be a less harmful alternative to smoking. However, as consumers, Canadians would be unable to know that these products are less harmful for them because of the advertising ban that would ensue if this legislation is passed.

For a bill that is focused on harm reduction, it seems illogical that companies or even Health Canada would not be allowed to educate Canadians if there are less harmful alternatives out there.

In addition, the government claims that switching to plain packaging will decrease the smoking rate. My concern here is twofold. Throughout my research, and through consultation with a number of stakeholders, I have been unable to find reliable statistics that prove that implementing plain packaging reduces the urge for youth to start smoking. In my experience, they do not try smoking because they see a package and think it looks cool. In many parts of Canada, they cannot see the package anyway because by law it is hidden from view in stores. Rather, they try it because their friends are doing it, or because it is easy to access.

We all want to go home for the weekend, so I will spare everyone from going into the litany of problems in this bill, and how it contrasts with what the Liberals are putting forward in their marijuana legislation.

Back to my second concern, which is if we implement plain packaging and end up fuelling the contraband market we could actually see an increase in the rate of youth smoking as a result of accessibility. One of the reasons why contraband tobacco continues to be popular is because of its low cost. In fact, in many areas where contraband tobacco is sold, a person can buy a Baggie of 200 cigarettes for about $10 compared to buying the legal product for well over $100 for the same quantity. People buy the cheaper product to save money.

A lot of young people do not have the means to purchase $100 worth of cigarettes, but they may have the means to purchase cigarettes at $10. Therefore, if the contraband market is allowed to flourish, youth could quite conceivably have even more access to cigarettes as a result of their low cost.

As I said earlier, I understand and I even support the stated goal, but I have very serious issues with the path that the Liberals are taking to get there.

In closing, I ask that the members of this House consider the very real and serious concerns that I have outlined today and take them into consideration when developing their own thoughts about the bill, and that they think of my speech when Bill S-5 is discussed at committee.