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Vaping group challenges Edmonton Police enforcement plan

EDMONTON – The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) says Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is targeting vaping retailers and they’re pushing back.

Last week Edmonton Police Service rolled out their plan to address what they said was a rise in youth vaping. EPS says the cause of youth vaping is not the absence of legislation to prevent youth from vaping but the absence of adequate enforcement.

READ MORE: Increase in youth vaping at schools prompts police to partner with U of A nurse

“The placement of vaping products into the same category as tobacco is a puzzling move given that the Alberta Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act makes no specific reference to vaping,” said Shawn Kreger, former president and current board member of the CVA and owner of Edmonton based River City Vapes ,which operates three specialty vape shops and production facility since 2013. 

“In fact, public health campaigners and the City of Edmonton have been lobbying for provincial legislation because they argue that federal legislation, which restricts the promotion and advertising of vaping to reduce the appeal of these products to youth does not go far enough.”

The CVA says the EPS move to action is based on an understanding of the Alberta Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act that is completely at odds with the industry and the City of Edmonton’s interpretation of the Act, as well as federal vaping regulations, threatening to undermine existing business operations and the potential for vaping products to positively impact public health.

EPS move threatens to undermine existing vaping business operations. – Shawn Kreger CVA. @albertapress Click To Tweet

EPS issued a warning letter to vape product retailers, which outlined their interpretation of the act and listed stiff penalties for non-compliance.

READ MORE: Calgary eyeing changes to vaping, smoking rules

The CVA says vape retailers that sell to minors are an obvious target for greater enforcement action, but the EPS went further to stipulate that those selling flavoured vape products were also in violation of the act.

According to the EPS letter, the “nicotine located in e-cigarettes and vape juice is considered a tobacco product,” which effectively renders the sale, display and promotion of flavoured vaping products illegal in the same way tobacco products are prohibited from being displayed, advertised or promoted and flavoured tobacco products are not allowed to be sold. 

The CVA says the EPS is stretching the definition of “tobacco products” contained within the provincial act to also include vaping products on the premise that they contain nicotine extracted from tobacco.

"EPS is stretching the definition of "tobacco products" says CVA. @albertapress Click To Tweet

READ MORE: Calgary pot company expands market globally

“As a result, tobacco and vaping get lumped into the same category, and since flavoured tobacco is prohibited so are flavoured vaping products,” said Kreger.

“It appears that their preferred strategy to get flavoured vaping products out of the hands of youth is to simply get rid of the products altogether.”

The CVA says prohibition of the sale of flavoured vaping products would limit the accessibility of these products to adult smokers who may be using them as a way to quit smoking, thus driving them to the illicit market.

Kreger says it’s not clear at this point whether Alberta Health condones the action of the police service and is aligned in their interpretation of the Act. The CVA plan to challenge the EPS action.

The CVA plans to challenge the EPS action. @albertapress Click To Tweet

“As a vape shop owner and anti-smoking activist I am dually and deeply affected by these efforts and am seeking clarity,” said Kreger. “Before we jump to solutions and start doling out punishment on well-intentioned small business owners, we need to have a clear and shared understanding of the legal parameters and the problems they aim to address.”

"We need to have a clear and shared understanding of the legal parameters and the problems they aim to address." – Shawn Kreger @albertapress Click To Tweet

The Canadian Vaping Association is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents more than 200 retail and online vaping businesses in Canada.

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One thought on “Vaping group challenges Edmonton Police enforcement plan
  1. Reframe this article. The eps is not targeting shops that sell to minors they are targeting all shops because of flavoured juice.

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