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

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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.

Elsewhere

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.

World No Tobacco DayStatements By Members

May 31st, 2018 / 2:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate World No Tobacco Day.

As we know, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada.

That is why our government is committed to passing Bill S-5 to protect the health of Canadians, especially youth.

I am proud to see that it received royal assent last week.

With budget 2018, our government is renewing and enhancing the federal tobacco control strategy by investing over $80 million.

In addition to helping Canadians stop smoking, this investment will support prevention efforts and reduce contraband tobacco. The goal is to get more Canadians to quit and reduce smoking deaths.

May 23rd, 2018 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received, as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

May 23, 2018

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 23rd day of May, 2018, at 14:12 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Assunta Di Lorenzo

The bills assented to were Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 9, and Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 10.

May 1st, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Rob Cunningham Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society

Thank you very much, Chair.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today.

The focus of my testimony will be part 2 of the bill, clauses 47 to 67, implementing a $1-per-carton increase in tobacco taxes and modifying the inflation indexing for tobacco taxes from every five years to every year. We applaud these measures and urge all committee members to support these provisions. Tobacco products remain the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, killing 45,000 Canadians annually and causing about 30% of all cancer deaths.

We also strongly support the federal budget provisions that provide increased investment in the federal tobacco control strategy. This is essential as part of the efforts to meet the objective of reducing tobacco use to under 5% by 2035. There are still more than five million Canadians who smoke. There are teenagers starting to smoke every month. We have made considerable progress, but enormous work remains.

The budget measures regarding tobacco taxes and funding of the strategy are complemented by Bill S-5, adopted at third reading by the House of Commons last week, and by pending regulations for plain and standardized packaging. Plain packaging, a key measure to protect youth and curb the package as a means of promotion, has already been adopted by eight countries.

Increasing tobacco taxes is the most effective strategy to reduce tobacco use, especially among youth who have less disposable income. They're more price sensitive. That tobacco taxes decrease consumption is recognized by the World Bank, the World Health Organization, a vast number of studies in Canada and worldwide, provincial and territorial governments across Canada, and successive federal governments. Tobacco tax increases are a win-win, benefiting both public health and public revenue. The budget projects increased revenue of $375 million in this fiscal year alone as a result of the tobacco tax changes.

Inflation indexing of the tobacco tax was initiated in the 2014 federal budget, with indexing to occur every five years. The first inflation adjustment was to have occurred in 2019. Indexation ensures that tobacco tax rates are in effect kept the same on an after-inflation basis. In its pre-budget submission, Imperial Tobacco Canada recommended annual indexation instead of every five years as part of its recommendations to this committee.

Federal tobacco taxes are better than provincial tobacco taxes from a contraband perspective, because they apply on reserves. There's no difference between on-reserve and off-reserve tax rates. The level of contraband on which federal tobacco taxes are not paid is far lower than the contraband level on which provincial tobacco taxes are not paid.

I would invite committee members to turn to the background material that was circulated to you. The first graph shows comparative provincial and territorial tobacco tax rates. We see that Ontario and Quebec have the lowest tax rates in Canada but the highest contraband. That's counterintuitive to what we hear from the tobacco industry. They say higher tobacco taxes increase contraband. We see that in western Canada they have far higher rates of tobacco taxes but much lower levels of contraband.

Why is contraband higher in Ontario and Quebec? It's proximity to the illegal factories and sources of supply, but we can see that higher tobacco taxes have been sustained in the west and the Atlantic.

The next graph shows the trend in federal and provincial tobacco tax revenue. We see that even with reduced smoking rates, tobacco tax revenue continues to increase despite the lower smoking prevalence. In fiscal year 2017, the amount of $8.4 billion was collected, with even more of an increase if GST, HST, and PST on tobacco products were factored in.

The next graph shows the long-term trend in smoking prevalence in Canada. In 1965 it was 50% for Canadians aged 15 plus. In 2016 that was down to 17%. Over recent years we've seen a continuing decline. That's very positive, but it's also relevant when we see that tobacco tax revenue continues to increase. So tobacco taxes do benefit public revenue.

The next graph shows trends among teenagers, the 15- to 19-year-olds. We see a continuing decline in smoking prevalence among youth. That's very good. Tobacco taxes and other measures have contributed to that, but we want to keep driving this down further. The recently announced measures will help do that.

We thank the federal government for the new tobacco control measures that have been brought forward, and we appreciate the support from all parties. We look forward to continuing progress.

Thank you.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay certainly seems to be well informed on this issue and may have personal knowledge of issues or concerns. What I would suggest to him is that Canada already has that regime. We have the Competition Bureau and the Competition Act, which regulate misleading advertising. This was actually my area of specialty when I was a lawyer. I reviewed advertising claims, from online to television. If advertising has any health-related aspect, there needs to be substantiation behind it. There needs to be science. Certain health claims are also regulated and have to be pre-screened by Advertising Standards Canada before they go on television.

If any Canadians have concerns about a claim being made that they think is misleading and is enticing people to make a purchase or maybe even try something out, they can bring that issue to the Competition Bureau. We have that regime in place.

What Bill S-5 would allow is a much more orderly process when it comes to packaging and to the promotion of the liquids involved in an emerging vaping industry. As I said, we need public health education and regulation. We can also recognize that these products are less harmful than tobacco products, but Canadians need to know that they might be 99% less harmful, but there are potential risks involved.

I think the public information and regulation in the bill is fair. I would have liked a separate bill, because this is a new and emerging device, but at the very least, Canadians can be assured that there would be more effective regulation as a result of Bill S-5.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, on a Friday afternoon, as we are winding down a week, the humour of the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells did not bristle; it was welcomed. I was a very proud toothbrush lawyer, toothpaste lawyer, and a whole bunch of things when I was with P&G.

The best thing we can do is to give the public information and education about the products they use. The Conservatives generally agree that the individual, particularly once they are an adult, can make choices and can make choices responsibly, but they have to do this by having the proper information.

When it comes to the issue of vaping, having certain ingredients listed, certain claims about any positive health benefit or any positive benefit of stopping smoking, those claims need to be substantiated by science and reviewed if they are a health type of claim.

When it comes to tobacco, the health and science is clear, and has been clear for two generations now. Bill S-5's thrust is the plain packaging. While there are a number of other issues in there, which we have all spoken about today, the evidence is clear. For countries that have adopted plain packaging, it has had an added impact.

Under the Conservative government, Canadians hit an all-time low in overall levels of smoking in Canada, but the bill has elements in it that can get that number even lower. People who choose to smoke, whether regularly or occasionally, have to be informed so they know the choices and they can make informed decisions on their own.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill S-5, a bill first introduced in the Senate.

I am good friends with my friend from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. My wife's family lives in Fall River.

I did note, with interest, one of his responses, in which he said that the government was an evidence-based government and that it made decisions based on evidence. It appears that does not apply to the cannabis bill. Its rush to legalize, to keep the Prime Minister's very ill-conceived promise, has been contrary to evidence provided by the Canadian Medical Association, pediatricians, and so forth.

My speech will be based entirely on evidence. That needs to be brought here. I would also like to speak for a moment on how members of Parliament do their jobs, both in their constituency and in Ottawa. We do not talk about it enough. We know that Ottawa is full of government relations representatives, lobbyists, consultants, communications people, and we hear from people and groups on bills and legislation, which is important. We have to be informed. In many cases, we will call them to committee as well to give expert evidence and testimony.

I want to thank a constituent in my riding who brought very thoughtful and informed advocacy to me on Bill S-5. His name is Craig Farrow. He is a store owner in Bowmanville, and has been an owner of a store that sells vaping products. That is one of the elements contained in Bill S-5. Craig met with me and gave a very detailed presentation on how, when it came to smoking cessation, vaping products had helped up to a million Canadians leave smoking. In fact, in Craig's own experience of guiding and informing people in Bowmanville, he told me that in the five years his store had been open, he had helped 4,000 people transition from smoking to that e-cigarette or that vaping product.

Why this is important is that studies have shown, including a number of them in the United Kingdom, that vaping, and the nicotine included in the vaping fumes, is 95% less harmful than the tobacco delivery of nicotine. When we talk about the bill, we have to recognize there are some smoking cessation benefits to some of the products that will be regulated under Bill S-5. I want to thank Craig Farrow and store owners like him across the country who met with MPs, whether in Ottawa or in their ridings, and made the case that they should not be included.

The challenge is that they are included in Bill S-5. What I would have preferred to see was a separate bill on measures to prevent smoking, because I think we all support that. I would have preferred the marijuana and cannabis discussion to be a little more fulsome in Ottawa. Then, vaping, which is totally different, but worthy of regulation and attention, should have been treated differently. However, they are not.

I will speak about why I and my Conservative colleagues support Bill S-5. We are disappointed the government has tried to bring a lot of things in with it. It is a bill that amends the Tobacco Act, the Non-Smokers Health Act, and consequential amendments. It is kind of another example of a Liberal-promoted omnibus bill.

There are good elements in the bill that evidence has shown has led people to stop smoking. We have known for decades now that smoking can have numerous health impacts, including cancer. That is why governments, since 1980s, have tried to make measures to curb smoking, particularly with young people.

Bill S-5 has, as its centerpiece, the plain packaging issue, when it comes to tobacco sales, promotion, and advertising. Plain packaging measures have shown a marked increase, in jurisdictions that have adopted it, to prevent people from smoking.

We can look at the jurisdictions, which I looked did, of Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, our closest allies, I am well known for advocating working even closer with those allies under a program called CANZUK. Those countries have already implemented plain packaging and have had tremendous results.

The post-implementation review in Australia of its plain packaging legislation has estimated already, within the span of 18 months to two years, that almost 110,000 people have stopped smoking as a result that legislative measure.

In the United Kingdom, David Cameron's Conservative government brought forward similar legislation. It is estimated that this plain packaging move will take 300,000 people away from smoking, reducing the health impacts, the cost to society, and the toll on families.

In New Zealand, John Key's government also brought in similar legislation.

Therefore, with this part of Bill S-5, we are very in line with what our closest friends and allies have done. Unlike the Liberals who talk about evidence-based decision-making, I am trying to review the benefits that some of our friends have already had. We can review their evidence, especially the post-implementation review in Australia, to show this will have a benefit. Even though there are a lot of things in Bill S-5, plain packaging is the centrepiece.

I would also like to mention why the Conservatives support Bill S-5, despite its omnibus nature.

Since the government of Brian Mulroney in 1988, and the tobacco products act it brought in with Bill C-51 at the time, there has been a non-partisan approach to smoking cessation legislation in the House. I am glad, despite some of the issues and despite the Liberals voting down our worthwhile amendments at committee, that we are still advocating and supporting them on this. We see the benefit, much like governments since 1988 saw with the legislation from the Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservative government. Subsequent changes were made by Liberal governments. Now we are trying to bring that same non-partisan approach to a public health issue on how we can get more young people to stop smoking or not get into it at all.

I would also like to thank the great advocacy work of physicians of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and a number of other great groups that have been at the forefront of some of these smoking cessation pieces of legislation. As I said at the outset of my remarks, we are trying to be non-partisan here, but I am very partisan. I would like to see the same approach in listening to physicians, health care professionals, and families in many cases to stop the rush with respect to some of the measures on the Prime Minister's pledge on marijuana. I guess I can hold out hope that showing all-party support on a bill like this perhaps will have the Liberals revisit their approach to public health policy.

The final part in my speech goes back Craig Farrow, store keepers, and e-cigarette or vaping shop owners who have concerns about Bill S-5. There needs to be regulation in that space as well.

Before coming to Parliament, I was a lawyer for Procter & Gamble. At times, I was a toothbrush lawyer. In fact, some of its electric toothbrushes were medical devices, so they were already regulated. Therefore, the vaporizers that heat up the liquid and produce the vape are medical devices. It is a class II medical device. To be eligible for sale in Canada, a part of that industry are already being regulated. They need a device licence and an establishment licence for the facility that creates the vaporizing product. Why? Because these items Canadians use on their body or in their body. Therefore, we have to have faith that they are properly regulated, that they are safe and fit for use. That is why there is already regulation. I would like to see the same regulation applied to the sale, promotion, and labelling of products involved in vaping.

Certainly, when I met with Craig and a lot of the owners, they already do not list products with candy-sounding names and things like that. However, it is important for us to have regulation in place to ensure that it is consistent and to ensure there is not an outlier that would allow children to be enticed into it. While, studies show that it is better for people and can be an aid in getting people off smoking tobacco, there are health impacts, and people deserve to know that. It is also a $27 billion industry globally now, and it is growing. Therefore, it is appropriate for the Government of Canada to regulate it.

As I said at the outset, I would have preferred separate legislation as opposed to an omnibus-type bill approach here, but nonetheless the smoking cessation measures within the bill are positive.

I think the vaping industry will also take positives from the bill. Vaporizing in general will be used already by cannabis manufacturers. They are already getting their device licences approved for the delivery of a vaporized cannabis once the Prime Minister's cannabis regime is in place. What the vaping stores can look to is that in the future not just ingredients like nicotine can be part of devices. There is the potential, with proper regulation, for some types of over-the-counter or low level health benefit products to be part of delivery by vaporizer. If we bring regulation certainty to this area of public health, it will actually help Craig and his industry in the future.

It has been my pleasure to speak for a few minutes on this and to once again show that responsible shop owners and industry associations, by bringing their issues forward, are helping make public debate better. They are helping us improve legislation. They are also improving our overall awareness of the risks, but also the positives, when it comes to smoking cessation, of new products like e-cigarettes and those sorts of things.

Parliament is meant to talk about the good and about the bad. In areas where we can get young people off smoking, it is important to have all-party support like we have had with Bill S-5.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, I am always very happy to stand in the House to represent the people of my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. I describe the riding as a half-circle around the two big cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.

The riding has a very large population of veterans and military members. I am extremely proud to represent those individuals. Those veterans and military members make up 23% of the population, which is the highest in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has the highest number of veterans and military members per capita in the country. Members can well understand why I am very proud to represent those individuals.

There is also a very large number of seniors in the riding. When I visit the various seniors groups, the work they do is quite impressive. Not only do they do all kinds of great things when it comes to volunteering, but they also have all kinds of events and activities taking place daily in their communities to support seniors. That is important.

There are fishing communities, like Eastern Passage. There are urban and rural communities. There is a good mix in my riding. I always want to underline those key issues and concerns.

I am pleased to speak to Bill S-5, a very important bill that came through the Senate. The bill would amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

It is important to note that we have done some really good work on prevention when it comes to tobacco. In the last number of years, we have seen a decrease in the numbers of smokers in Canada, from 22% to 13%. That is because of the various strategies we have used, including the markings and packaging, which I will talk about as well. However, we need to go further.

When we start to talk about vaping products, I have to be honest I do not have a lot of experience in this area. I have asked myself questions on many occasions, when driving or walking down the street and I see people using these vaping products. I have asked myself if these products include nicotine or tobacco. Sometimes I smell an odour like when someone is smoking a pipe. This allowed me to a little research to learn more about this product.

This bill focuses on two major areas. The first is a new framework for unregulated products. As I have said, the product is out there, but there are no regulation on it. We need to put some regulations on that.

The other aspect of the bill that I want to speak to is the plain packaging, because that is crucial. I believe we are heading in the right direction. When I hear “plain packaging”, I think about branding. So many things in the country and in the world if branded and marketed the right way will influence people to purchase it or try it.

Branding is so important. I think about James Curleigh who spoke last week about Levi's and the main strategies used to brand a product and make people want to purchase and use that product. That is why plain packaging is crucial. We have to take away the influence branding has. That is extremely important.

I believe we are the 10th country looking at changing branding and moving to plain packaging.

When we say “plain packaging”, the colour is gone, which is good. It is not as attractive. Perhaps the shape has changed and that may stop people from purchasing and using the product. It is not as flashy, but we can still put the necessary warnings on the packaging to show the other products it may contain.

The consultation that took place on the bill allowed 58,000 Canadians to speak about packaging, how they felt about plain packaging, and if they believed this was what we should be doing. A large majority of people supported it. I am extremely happy about that. I just shared with the members what branding and marketing could do. Therefore, if we take that away, we reverse the table on it, and we then head in the right direction. However, the consultation was crucial.

The next step is to put a committee together to work on setting the rules and regulations. Once that is set, then we will go back out and consult again. It is important to ensure we are in partnership as we move forward on this important bill.

I will now touch on vaping products. Again, my experience is limited in this area, but vaping has been going on for eight or nine years. As members know, once a new product comes online and the industry gets involved, it will continue to find ways to make the product more attractive, different, and we will see all kinds of versions out there.

This is where we need to ensure we are regulating, and there are two areas we will look at to to this. The product could fall under the Food and Drugs Act, which would mean for therapeutic use only. If it does not meet the therapeutic criteria, it would automatically fall under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Therefore, we have two areas where it could be regulated.

The objective here is to ensure that young people do not have access to this product. We will set the limit at 18 years. The other reason we want to act on this vaping product is that adults already use e-cigarettes. I agree that information is still unclear and we do not have all the scientific evidence, but some facts clearly show that this product is much less harmful than cigarettes themselves. As a result, this strategy to establish regulations may allow people who smoke to use this product, and then to eliminate this type of product entirely. This is another strategy.

The other thing we need to really look at is the whole issue of public health. We know how much money we spend on health. Provincial governments and the federal government spend a lot of money on health. There are waiting lists for our hospitals. This is very important. If this can help reduce the pressure on our public health system, we should consider it as another success.

Let us look at some of the key provisions in the bill. The first, as I mentioned, is the age limit of 18 years or older, which is an important factor.

The second one is what we call machine dispensers. We have come a long way with machine dispensers. I do not remember, but some people who are older than I am have told me that they existed for beer at one time, way back when. We could get beer the same way we get pop. That was available. Then we had them for cigarettes, of course, but we will make sure that they are not permitted for vaping products as well. We are starting in a much further area or space than we did with other products that were also very damaging.

Other provisions have to do with mailing and delivery if people order online. We know that ordering online is a big thing now. I know my kids order a lot of things online. It has become another method for people to purchase products without having to wander around in malls and spend their day in different shops.

That is one way of purchasing a product, but when products are sent and delivered, it will be crucial to ensure that the person who is receiving the product at the delivery point is older than 18 years. Therefore, when people are purchasing, they may have to have a Visa in their name. I do not have all of the specifics, but when it is being delivered to the homes of people, we must make sure that the person who is receiving the product is over 18 years old. That is crucial.

Another restriction is with respect to promotion. When it is being promoted, companies would be able to use some promotion strategies because the risk is less. However, there are some limitations in that area as well that are crucial.

Another area that is also important is prohibiting flavours that are attractive to kids, such as candy flavours, and I would like to share something that speaks to that. While we do not propose to limit the flavouring ingredients that may be added, we do not want to see those flavours identified or promoted as things that are appealing to kids. It will not be permissible to offer e-juice, cotton candy, popcorn, candy cane, or other flavours that appeal to kids.

As we can see, those are some of the strategies that the industry could come forward with that could cause great problems.

With respect to the second category and the Consumer Product Safety Act, of course vaping products that do not have therapeutic claims would fall under this category and all of the regulations that come with it for tobacco, etc. It will also require the industry, if there are any malfunctions, fires, or explosions associated with the product itself, to report them to Health Canada so that Health Canada can also recall the product.

As members can see, we are definitely heading in the right direction. This is much better than what was out there, because there were no controls. These regulations will help us.

In conclusion, together these measures will help protect the health and safety of all Canadians, including the people who choose to use vaping products.

Bill S-5 is a critical piece of our government's tobacco control agenda and will help address one of the most challenging and enduring public health problems. Bill S-5 strikes a balance between the harms of vapour products that may entice youth and others to develop a narcotic addiction and the potential public health benefits that could arise from reducing tobacco-related deaths and diseases.

I urge all colleagues in this House to support the bill at second reading and to move it quickly to committee.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I spent a couple of decades working closely with high schools in my region, so I know how important it is to support prevention programs in our schools. In my riding, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, an organization called Jeunes en santé is doing amazing work in youth health promotion. It is helping schools and organizations teach healthy life habits. Unfortunately, funding for organizations like Jeunes en santé tends to be precarious. We have to support organizations that work on the front lines.

My colleague mentioned stakeholders. Stakeholders played a major role in drafting Bill S-5, which will soon become law; they indicated what kind of amendments were needed. They were the ones who insisted that social media advertising targeting young people should be prohibited. The federal government must ensure that our laws protect people who are targeted and who are more likely to start using tobacco. We have to listen to front-line stakeholders. In my speech, I mentioned organizations such as the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, and the Canadian Public Health Association. Every one of those organizations is prepared to show us the way and tell us what needs to be done.

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

April 27th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, to conclude my speech I will recap what I said before question period.

In a bill like Bill S-5, it is important to strike a balance between protecting non-smokers and helping smokers to quit smoking. It is important to develop prevention tools and invest in preventing people from smoking in the first place. If a person starts smoking, then one day they will want to quit, and we know how hard that can be. We have to invest in prevention to ensure that we have everything we need to make people aware of the risks of using tobacco.

I also mentioned the importance of targeting groups that are more likely to smoke. Again, 40% of first nations people smoke, as do 37% of people who are divorced or separated. Young people are also a target group. Often people start smoking when they are teenagers. I would add that troubled youth are particularly targeted. What is more, people with mental health issues, whether it be a minor depression or a more serious problem, represent 20% of the Canadian public who will be affected at some point, and some statistics point to an even higher rate.

Therefore, it is important to focus on these groups and to help the organizations that support these people in particular. We should help organizations such as Satellite, in Saint-Hyacinthe, and Horizon Soleil, in Acton Vale, which work on prevention with elementary school children, their parents, and teachers so that they know how to handle a situation where they might start consuming. Earlier, I spoke about Maison l'Alcôve, a well-regarded organization that does excellent work when it comes to treating all addictions. It treats its clients in the enchanting surroundings of an old monastery, which is ideal for treating addictions.

I am also thinking of several organizations that are affected. I was the long-time director of a community housing organization, Auberge du coeur Le Baluchon. We provided housing for troubled youth, and most of them were users and also smokers. They were only allowed to smoke outside the house, and so the balcony became their meeting place. This organization's mission is not to help prevent smoking, but that is still a concern.

I am also thinking of all the mental health organizations. I worked for the Contact Richelieu-Yamaska crisis centre, where most of the people with mental health issues were also smokers. Then there is MADH, Maison alternative de développement humain, and Centre psychosocial Richelieu-Yamaska, which do the same kind of work.

As the federal government we are responsible for providing the funding to promote healthy living to Canadians. Whether we are talking about nutrition or physical exercise, a healthy lifestyle can help prevent people from smoking, which is the purpose of Bill S-5.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, the NDP does not think this bill is perfect, but we are going to support it at third reading. It is important to remember that the purpose of this bill is to create a new legislative framework for regulating vaping products and to 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 the associated 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. It is important to reiterate that 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, savings that would benefit the provinces and territories. There is no doubt that tobacco causes serious illnesses and a number of problems that can lead to death. One Canadian dies from a tobacco-related illness every 14 minutes. That is unacceptable. This is why we are supporting this bill and urging the other parties to do the same, in spite of everything.

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. 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. 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. In addition, it will be illegal to use tobacco brands or information-based advertising to market vaping products to young people. 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.

Of course, some amendments could have been proposed. One of the downsides 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. When bringing in regulations at the federal level, it is always important to consider provincial and territorial regulations. We have to bear that in mind every time we consider a federal bill.

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 Health Canada information on sales and the ingredients in the vaping products, to ensure follow-up.

The 2015 report on vaping released by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, which did an excellent job, made 14 recommendations, including one to create a legislative framework for vaping products. This bill follows up on these recommendations.

This 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 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.

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 more likely to suffer from tobacco-related illnesses. 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. The end goal is to reduce the gap in health status between general and disadvantaged populations caused by serious tobacco-related diseases.

Youth are also affected by this. We know that 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 addiction among young people. As a result, it will also reduce the percentage of smokers.

Passing this bill would be a step forward in reducing tobacco use and would improve the health of Canadians. 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 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, Horizon Soleil in Acton Vale, and Maison l'Alcôve, which start educating children in elementary school, as well as their teachers and parents, about the harmful effects of using tobacco and the importance of not using it in the teen years, 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 packaging and different flavours. We need to make sure that they never 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. Every day they encounter people who are trying to quit smoking. They were saying how hard it is to address this problem because that involves breaking daily habits.

It is important to acknowledge the work of national organizations in support of our legislative amendments to this bill. These organizations, including many medical and anti-smoking organizations, asked us to go even further.

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Association pour la santé publique du Québec, are some of the organizations that come to mind. Since I am from Quebec, I would point out the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, which does exemplary work on smoking prevention and awareness.

As I was saying earlier in my speech, we have to ensure that people do not ever start smoking. Of course we can work on helping them quit smoking, but I think that at the federal level our main job is to raise awareness. We have to do enough on raising awareness to ensure that smoking for the first time triggers an alarm in a person's mind and prevents them from starting in the first place. It is important. These organizations help us understand the balance between the need to protect non-smokers and the need to provide smokers with help to quit smoking.

For a long time, about a decade, the NDP put pressure on the Conservative government. It is now pressuring the Liberal government with bills. My colleague from Vancouver Kingsway has done excellent work with the Standing Committee on Health and strives to raise the government's awareness at every meeting. My colleague also works with all the organizations I named. As parliamentarians, it is important to listen to stakeholders. As critic, I am in touch with people on the front lines. Every day, they see the effects of decisions we make here. It is so important to listen to those stakeholders and their recommendations. They are eagerly awaiting this bill. We have to listen to them. These people work with tobacco users and educate people so they do not start smoking. That is what they do every day, and they say this bill is important. That is why it is so important for us to pass it.

The NDP supports this bill. We know it is not perfect and needs improvement, but it is a first step. We will keep pressing the government to do more. We will keep asking for more funding for prevention.

I worked in the health sector for decades, and spent some time working in prevention. In health care, 95% of funds are allocated to curative care. A lot of money is allocated to treatment, and the remaining 5% is allocated to prevention. These groups are telling us to invest more in prevention.

I have four children. With my youngest, I was introduced to energy cubes. Pierre Lavoie teaches us that we would have far fewer people in the hospital if we took care of our health every day, if we ate properly and did physical exercise. Smoking prevention is one of the healthy living habits that we need to instill in kids from a young age.

I think that our role at the federal level is to allocate enough funds to promote prevention and healthy living. Anti-smoking measures are part of these healthy living habits that we must instill in children from a young age. At the federal level, we must allocate enough funds to ensure that discussions on health also address prevention, the importance of taking action before problems arise.

What often happens is that we react to problems, but in supporting this bill, I think we are taking an important step in combatting tobacco use.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, we did not spend a lot of time talking about contraband marijuana during the Bill S-5 discussion. We talked mainly about the huge problem that we have today with contraband cigarettes.

It is no secret that many of the contraband cigarettes are produced at reserves across the country. It is an enforcement issue, because the reserves have the right to produce cigarettes; the problem is that other people are coming to the reserve and purchasing them. From an enforcement point of view, one has to either arrest everyone as they come out of the smoke shop or not do anything. If there has not been a successful solution on contraband cigarettes, then I doubt that we are going to see any successful solution elsewhere.

Contraband marijuana will be a significant problem. When we were doing the cannabis legislation, indigenous people testified that they will want the right to produce and distribute marijuana, so we may run into the same situation there. If there are no good solutions and none are found on smoking, then I do not think we are going to be successful in the marijuana area either.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2018 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today on Bill S-5 regarding plain packaging and vaping.

Canada has come a long way in terms of smoking cessation. Over the last number of years, half a century or so, the smoking rate has been reduced from about 50% to 13%, and the Conservative Party has been a great part of that. During the time we were in government, we definitely promoted many plans and programs that promoted the cessation of smoking. In fact, at one point, we focused specifically on youth, because there was a concern that youth smoking rates were rising again. We were able to reduce those rates from 33% to less than 20%. I think we need to continue to march along and figure out how to reduce smoking among young people and, of course, all Canadians.

One of the things I find a little hypocritical about the government is that in the budget, the Liberals introduced $80 million to stop people from smoking but $800 million to get them to start smoking marijuana. I think that is a total misalignment, in terms of health outcomes, that we would want to look at.

In terms of studying the bill, it was actually quite an education for me. We got to see all kinds of little products. There is a lot of new technology that has been developed. I did not bring any of it today, of course, because we do not allow props, but to let members know, there is a myriad of new technologies coming forward.

There is something called the HeatSticks, which are little tobacco sticks that are not combusted. The sticks are put in a device that heats them so that there are fewer harmful products. It is for harm reduction, in terms of health.

We learned about vaping and vaping devices. There are many different kinds of devices. Some have evolved over time. There was a concern at one point about batteries exploding in certain devices.

We need to make sure that something is done with the vaping industry, because today the vaping industry is totally unregulated. In fact, it is illegal. We have a lot of stores that have sprung up all over the place, but there is no governance or oversight to prevent them from selling these devices to young people or from selling marijuana at the same time. Definitely we need to see this industry regulated, so I am happy to see that regulations would be brought in with Bill S-5.

Quite a number of studies were presented to us by the Canadian Cancer Society. It is one of many health organizations that support this proposed legislation. I believe that 362 health organizations have come forward in support of this proposed legislation.

Of the 150 studies that have been done, there are eight countries that have been looking to implement plain packaging, and they have seen a reduction in the number of people smoking.

In terms of trying to make the bill better, we brought a whole bunch of amendments, but not a single one was accepted by the government. Therefore, I will spend a little time telling members about the amendments we tried to bring so they understand why I am disappointed that they were not received well.

First, if we look to Europe and the U.K., there is an additive called diacetyl, which is used for flavour. It gives a buttery flavour. It was found in the popcorn industry to cause something they dubbed “popcorn lung”. It is a very serious respiratory issue. This additive has been banned. It is prohibited in both the U.K. and Europe, and we felt that we should learn from their experience. They have been looking into the vaping side of things for 10 years now. We brought an amendment to prohibit that additive here, which, of course, was rejected. I cannot imagine for what reason.

Another issue we brought forward was something we heard from those in the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry is obviously going to eventually go out of business as people stop smoking, and there will be some job losses. However, more importantly, the plain packaging that was recommended as the solution is the old sleeve packaging we used to have. Those machines that manufactured that old packaging were all sold, in some cases to the people who are providing the contraband today. In terms of ordering new equipment, that equipment is obsolete.

There is not a good enough timeline in the proposed legislation, which calls for it to go into effect right away. There is not enough time for these people to purchase new equipment and get it established to comply with the proposed regulations.

For that reason, we brought an amendment that would extend the time of implementation by 12 months in order to allow time for businesses to come onside and comply with the legislation. That, of course, was also not accepted.

We also were interested in making sure that people know about the harm reduction information that is available. There have been studies within the tobacco industry on the new technologies that the industry is bringing forward. In the U.K. there was a study on vaping that showed there was a 95% reduction in harm. It is important for people who are smokers to be able to get hold of the information that there is less harm in some of these products and that they can be an avenue for them to stop smoking, but the bill would not allow anybody except Health Canada or the Minister of Health to provide harm reduction information. We thought that doctors and folks involved in smoking cessation clinics should be able to pass on this information, so we brought amendments on that as well, which were, of course, rejected.

Another thing we wanted to address was the issue of contraband. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health indicated that it was not a problem in Australia, but we should point out that Australia does not grow tobacco. It has to import all of it. In Canada, we grow tobacco in quite a number of places, and the contraband problem that we have currently is quite severe. Thirty or forty per cent is the estimate across the country, and in some places like Ontario, 60% of the cigarettes are contraband. Contraband brings along with it organized crime and activities that we do not want. We are worried that implementing plain packaging would make it easier for people to produce contraband cigarettes, so we were looking at ways and technologies that could be used to mark the cigarettes or mark the cases to make sure that people are not able to counterfeit them.

Counterfeiters are very good at what they do, and we always have to keep ahead of the technology. We heard witnesses tell us that producers of contraband are even able to get hold of the CRA stamps that are put on government packages, or to copy them in some way. That was another amendment that we would have liked to see to make sure that those contraband protection technologies were implemented, but of course that was also not accepted.

In looking at all the different technologies, we wanted to make sure that the bill covered everything. Marijuana and marijuana-consuming devices were not really covered in the marijuana legislation, and in this legislation we did not cover marijuana at all, so there is a gap there. We should have made it much clearer as to whether we want people to vape marijuana. To my mind, that is still an outstanding question.

Overall, the bill itself had a lot to it. Many people came before us. The convenience store owners were really concerned. Today they do not participate in the vaping industry and they want a chance to participate, but they feel they may not be able to do that because of the way they are regulated. They have a good record in terms of making sure that young people are not buying cigarettes, so they already have a good protocol in place for doing that, whereas the existing vaping stores do not have that. We certainly want to make sure that the convenience store owners have the opportunity to participate and take advantage of all of this.

Some of the most interesting testimony that we heard was about how people are using vaping products. I mentioned that people are using them to get off smoking, but some other interesting ideas were also brought forward. I heard people talk about how those who are morbidly obese or diabetic and have cravings for sugar are actually licking cherry-flavoured or pie-flavoured vaping products to control their cravings for sugar and lose weight. That was fairly interesting as well.

When I look into the bill and the amendments that we brought, I feel that overall this bill would result in reduced smoking rates in Canada. I think it would do that. Over a 10-year period, Australia saw a 3% reduction in the smoking rate. It is not a huge thing and probably not the only thing, but it is important.

One of the things that concerns me about with vaping was testimony that 30% of young people have tried vaping, and of the 30% who tried vaping, 50% are likely to start smoking. That is why it is so critical in this legislation to make sure that we are not advertising vaping to children under 18 and that we have good controls in place to make sure that children under 18 are not getting hold of vaping devices, because if they do, they are likely to start smoking, and then we are back to the problem that the Conservative government previously addressed in terms of reducing smoking by young people.

Although I am very disappointed that the excellent recommendations brought forward in amendments from the Conservative Party were not accepted, I feel that the bill overall will reduce harm to Canadians, and the vaping industry will be regulated. Therefore, we will be supporting this legislation.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I share the member's concern about the effects of tobacco use on the long-term health of our kids. That is why this bill is a very strong step forward. It would enable us to restrict access to it by young people. As I mentioned in my earlier remarks, the government is also making significant investments in research and treatment to ensure that we achieve this not only through regulation but through significant investments in those kids and their health.

We also recognize that there are many social determinants of tobacco use in our society, and we see those social determinants not only through Bill S-5 but through the entire government agenda. We are attempting to address social conditions such as unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to adequate services, which have in many communities resulted in increased tobacco use. Through regulation, we are ensuring that tobacco products are not appealing to young people, but at the same time, we are making other significant investments to change the circumstances in which the choice to use tobacco products is made by our kids.

Tobacco and Vaping Products ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Madam Speaker, my question focuses on youth and nicotine addiction. I have experienced, through my career working with youth, that they are often driven to nicotine addiction as a result of stress in school and in their lives, for example. I know that Bill S-5 addresses youth in particular with respect to the development of nicotine addiction. I am wondering if the member could expand on some of the things in this bill that would directly address nicotine addiction among youth.