Flavoured vapour products are not the reason for youth uptake and crucial to adult adoption
High nicotine concentrations are the reason for youth use
The rise in youth vaping rates in Canada directly correlates to the entrance of Big Tobacco owned vape brands, such as Juul and Vype. With the entrance of tobacco owned vape brands came aggressive advertising campaigns which were not restricted to adult environments – a practise that has since been federally prohibited. Moreover, the products distributed by these brands have nicotine concentrations of 57 – 59 milligrams per millilitre, making them highly addictive, with sleek devices that are very easily concealed. The UK has not seen a rise in youth vaping as a result of the nicotine limit that had been established in the European Union prior to the entrance of tobacco owned high nicotine vape brands; this nicotine limit meant that the high nicotine vape products were not available in the UK to entice youth.
The data is clear – high nicotine concentrations must be controlled to prevent youth experimentation, however there is a segment of heavy smokers that require access to high nicotine vape products to be successful transitioning from traditional tobacco. The market study contracted by Health Canada, “Study of Market Size, Characteristics, and Growth Trends of the Vaping Products Market in Canada,” found that 62% of vape product sales are of products containing concentrations greater than 20mg/mL. The transition from smoking to vaping works by matching a smoker’s daily nicotine intake and is then followed by a gradual reduction in nicotine consumption. A sudden nicotine ceiling could force many adults back to smoking. By restricting high nicotine products to age-restricted specialty vape stores, youth access points are eliminated. This measure would balance the need for youth protection with adult harm reduction.
While the CVA has always condemned the use of harm reduction products by youth, it is important to acknowledge the study by the CDC, “Youth and Tobacco Use”, which reports that while youth vaping rates have risen there have been dramatic declines in youth smoking rates in the United States. Vaping rates increased 1.5% from 2011, while smoking rates declined 15.8%.