Vape juice refills have been limited to 30 millilitres such as these shown here seen here at Costal Vape Co. in Prince Rupert B.C., on Sept. 2, 2021. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Vape juice refills have been limited to 30 millilitres such as these shown here seen here at Costal Vape Co. in Prince Rupert B.C., on Sept. 2, 2021. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert vape shop at the mercy of proposed flavour restrictions

Federal mandate may limit choices to three flavours

A proposed federal ban on most vape flavourings will hurt Prince Rupert customers more than business, says Coastal Vape Co. manager, Chris Bishop.

The Canadian Gazette (the official newspaper of the Government of Canada) part I , published June 19 this year, stated:

“The proposed Order Amending Schedules 2 and 3 to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (Flavours) and the proposed Standards for Vaping Products’ Sensory Attributes Regulations (the proposal)…would further restrict the promotion of flavours in vaping products to tobacco, mint, menthol and a combination of mint and menthol (mint/menthol)…it would prohibit all sugars and sweeteners as well as most flavouring ingredients, with limited exceptions to impart tobacco and mint/menthol flavours.”

“Business-wise, it’ll obviously take a big hit on us, but that’s not so much the concern. It’s more, for me, the customers coming in [who] choose to vape because it’s better for you,” Bishop, said. “I’ve seen people quit [smoking] and they’re not recognizable in three months.”

“There’s been people that I’ve seen come in super pale, like sunken eyes, [who] look like they’re sick basically. And within two months they have a regular complexion,” he said.

This is not the first time that vape shops have faced restrictions on their products. Just within this last year, multiple vape products have seen new regulations imposed by the government, Bishop said. Maximum volume sizes for vape juice refills have been reduced to 30 millilitres from 60 millilitres and disposable bars (a small and compact vape product) have been limited to a volume of two millilitres. Maximum nicotine content has also been limited to 20 milligrams from a previous 50 milligrams. Disposable products were, and still are, one of their most popular products, Bishop said.

Bishop says that the regulations only make their products less affordable and more wasteful with unnecessary packaging to get the same amount of product customers want.

For others, vaping aides them with their health issues.

For Sandra Sears’ son, vaping is an alternative to prescription drugs for helping him with his anxiety.

“He finds that the prescription drugs make him feel ill and that with vaping it doesn’t seem to make him feel ill at all,” Sears said.

Sears also has an aunt who is undergoing chemotherapy and says that vaping helps her get through the challenging treatment.

“They all seem to like it because they say it tastes better, it has the flavour,” she said.

She said vaping is an appealing alternative to prescription drugs for both of them because they don’t what is in the drugs, but they do know what is in the vapes they smoke. Not everybody wants to smoke cigarets, she said.

The loss of vape flavourings will be another blow to the vaping industry and to more than 550 of their Prince Rupert customers, says Bishop.

“Everybody is upset about it,” he said.

“Bottom line is that we’re going to lose a lot of customers because they’re going to go away from vaping and return to smoking cigarets. Because if they’re going to be tasting the tobacco — or nothing anyways — why not,” Bishop said. “Everybody that I’ve talked to about it says that they’ll just go back to cigarets,” he said.

Bishop criticized the already in place restrictions as unfair citing that cigarets have not faced similar sizing restrictions. You can still buy a carton of cigarets but not a 60 milliliter refill, he said.

“I firmly believe it’s because the government is being lobbied by the tobacco parties so heavily [because] they’re loosing money,” Bishop said.

He says that misinformation about illegal vape products sold to underage youth in the United States has lead to unfair and negative publicity towards vaping in Canada from the government.

A common argument against vape flavourings is that it attracts kids, Bishop said. However, in Canada, only people of age are allowed in shops so no youth have access to vape products, he said.

“This shop and any shop that’s allowed to display vape juice, like we do, has to be a 19-plus establishment. Even if you’re a child, you’re not allowed in here,” Bishop said.

Norman Galimski | Journalist 
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