Vaping Supporters Being Silenced With Anti-Vaping Legislation

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A bill in Canada is silencing vape advocates by making it illegal to discuss the health benefits of vaping.

The Toronto Sun is reporting that a new bill, known as Bill S-5, is making the rounds in Canada’s federal government and could lead to stiff fines and even jail time for vape advocates who choose to continue to talk about how vaping can benefit smokers. The bill is also said to be aimed squarely at scientists and researchers who work in the field of vaping and would effectively block them from sharing the results from their studies under the law.

The tactic of refusing to allow scientists to divulge accurate information to the public is not new to politics; the former Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, famously was criticized for putting a gag order on scientists. That led to a CBC report that showed how his government designed and implemented “strict procedures around how its scientists are allowed to speak about their research to the media.”

Now, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the tactic continues.

Bill S-5 was introduced in Parliament in November 2016 and has since passed through two of the three branches needed in order to become law. It was designed to not only limit the amount of access the public has to scientific data on vaping, it was also designed to forbid vaping businesses and advocates from sharing scientific information with the public that would compare vaping to traditional cigarettes.

The ban is broad and refuses to distinguish what kind of scientific data would be found to be in violation of the law. In fact, it is so broad that even by mentioning an article about vaping in a shop or business could see that advocate who shared that information responsible for a fine of up to $500,000 and a two-year prison term. There is no word on what repeated offenses could mean in terms of punishment.

The prison time and arbitrary fine schedules will undoubtedly call into question the ban’s constitutional veracity, as prison time for speaking freely on scientific journal articles could be seen as a violation of the right of freedom of expression. As the bill has not yet passed into law, there is still time to review the punishments and adjust accordingly; however, there has been no movement to do that from any legislator in Parliament.

Anti-vaping legislation that effectively puts a gag on scientists has serious implications going forward, including the idea that other legislation could be passed in the future that would ban scientists from giving the public necessary information that could save their lives. It could even go beyond that and begin to give gag orders to reporters, doctors, or other professions of authority in order to decimate an opposing view that flies in the face of the federal government.

In a word, it’s an incredibly direct way for the federal government to get away with silencing opposition in whatever form it takes, and it’s all done with late-night votes and the stroke of a pen.

For vapers, this legislation has severe and long-lasting effects. Because vaping is less dangerous than smoking, it is actually a great alternative to other nicotine replacement therapies; unfortunately, the legislation would make it difficult to explain that to potential customers.

The ban would also make it impossible to point customers with more questions to scientific studies and reports that show how vaping is different from smoking. Customers, for instance, would not be told that vape products do not contain tobacco, don’t burn, and do not produce smoke. Those customers would have to find another way to learn how vape products use battery-operated devices that heat up a liquid to produce a vapor that may or may not contain nicotine.

Bill S-5 is the polar opposite approach of how the UK government has handled vaping.

It was in 2015 when the UK’s health governing body, Public Health England, issued a press released that focused on conclusions made by an independent expert review of available studies on vaping. It found that vaping was 95 percent less dangerous than smoking and was not, in fact, a gateway to smoking, as many anti-vaping advocates would have you believe.

That independent expert review also found that the public was not adequately informed of the health benefits of switching from traditional cigarettes to vaping.

If this bill comes to pass, however, even mentioning Public Health England’s inquiry and report on vaping would be tantamount to breaking the law. This is a far cry from the UK’s very public stance that vaping could be used to help smokers quit their habit; it is also a tragic turn of events, as Canada currently has 4.6 million citizens who smoke regularly and could be helped by vaping.

Canada could also benefit financially from the vaping industry, as it could help stave off burdens brought on by health complications; it’s reported that this financial burden sits at $17 billion annually. Smokers could also save hundreds of dollars by switching from cigarettes to vape products, even if high taxes are imposed on the products.

So why adopt such an extreme view on the dissemination of scientific facts and studies? One could only hazard a guess as to what Canada’s government is thinking, but it seems that backroom agendas matter more to the governing body than the health of the people they were elected to protect.

This publication understands that vaping is not without some risk; however, it is our belief that vaping is still the first and best alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes and that the information that proves this should be free and available publicly to all citizens, including Canada.

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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10 Responses

  1. Michael Henson says:

    Wow! Canada is still located in North America isn’t it? or has it been relocated to North Korea? How can a free democracy even give a thought to advancing laws that criminalize discussions about factual data?!?!

  2. roger j pihl says:

    First of all, Canada and the United States have been in bed with each other for a long time. Furthermore, the politicians in both countries are the worst of the bunch. In addition, back in the 1920’s doctors and scientists found the cure for cancer so guess what? The greedy politicians and crooked government from the US and Canada shut them up real fast and threatened them. In conclusion, they were made to hand over the records and burned them all. You see they saw a big profit if people were ill because if they cured cancer what would happen to that discusting health care system? As a result, here we are in the year 2017 and we still have politicians and greed to help poison us even more. Therefore, until we annilate these pieces of trash we will be screwed with high unrepresented taxes and low paying jobs. What a load of crap!

  3. Mick Dean says:

    So the difference between Canada and Thailand where I now live is what precisely? Western democracy vs military junta in a country renowned for corruption. I started vaping after the ban, but we survive. Although a percentage of orders are seized by Customs.
    From a now much poorer, but soon to be free Brit pensioner.

  4. James MacGregor says:

    It just shows that the Government don’t care about peoples health …really..just the tax dollar…I was a 30 cigarette a day smoker and tried all the recommended cessation methods with no luck…took up vaping 2014 and have been tobacco free since and I have Emphysema from tobacco use. The lunng test done since vaping show no change in my lung functions

  5. Ken Ka says:

    What’s scary is the way the bill is worded it’s not just shops and advocates that could be fined IT’S ANYONE!!

    Here’s a pic I put together feel free to share it…

    http://i.imgur.com/QKg5lWB.png

  6. Debbie Morin says:

    Four years smoke free because of vaping. Come on Canada, the future is vaping.

  7. Laurie Campbell says:

    I feel like I was just reading an article about North Korea… There’s seriously something very very wrong here, a $500,000 fine and up to 2 years in prison for talking about the benefits of vaping? It’s become blatantly obvious that Health Canada does not actually want people to quit smoking, as all other methods of quitting are epic failures in the long term. I thought the FDA regulations in the US were bad but this makes me embarrassed to be Canadian for the first time in my 42 years. Shame on you

  8. Dave Hunt says:

    i will not be silenced by any government!!

  9. Kristen says:

    wtf Canada?
    hiding scientific studies from people?

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