Connect with us


Government’s changing vape strategy shifts focus away from cigarettes, advocates fear



OTTAWA — In the eight years or so since he opened his first vape shop in Ottawa, Ron Couchman said a great sense of community has been lost.

A former cigarette smoker himself, Couchman said he remembers when his store operated almost as a support group for people trying to find a healthier alternative to cigarette addiction.

“We could teach other people how to vape when people were struggling to get off cigarettes, we’d play board games and have movie nights,” Couchman said.

As provincial and federal legislation started to clamp down on those activities, he said the camaraderie has faded.


Couchman is a passionate advocate for the potential of vaping to help people leave more harmful tobacco habits behind. At one point the federal government appeared to be onside with that, he said, but that seems to be changing.

“The last few bouts of legislation (have) really swung the other way to the point that it’s serving as a disincentive to quit smoking,” he said.

The government is in the midst of its first review of the 2018 legislation that legalized vaping, and appears to be veering away from the narrow path between treating vapes as a harm reduction tool, or a danger in and of themselves.

The harms of vaping relative to smoking tobacco cigarettes are still something of a mystery, but the government’s website suggests it’s safer than inhaling cigarette smoke.

Advocates on both sides of the issue say regulations have become tougher on vapes and have more or less abandoned the product as an alternative to cigarettes, leaving them to wonder how the government plans to deal with cigarette smoking in Canada.

“They bet heavily on harm reduction as a way to address tobacco. It hasn’t worked for them, and they didn’t have a more comprehensive plan,” said Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

Health Canada’s goal is to reduce the number of people who smoke tobacco to just five per cent by 2035, from about 14.8 per cent in 2019.

An audit of the department shows tobacco smoke is declining in popularity, but mainly because young people aren’t picking up the habit and existing smokers are dying.

Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada, with approximately 48,000 people dying from smoking-related illnesses every year, the government says.

Vaping remains relatively unpopular for adults over the age of 25, with just three per cent reporting that they vaped within the last month in 2020, according to the results of the Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey. That’s about the same it was in the 2017 Canadian Tobacco Alcohol and Drugs Survey.

But vaping has spiked among youth between 15 and 19 years old, to 14 per cent in 2020 up from six per cent in 2017.

In response, the government clamped down on vaping with a range of regulations, banning promotion and advertising of the products in certain spaces and putting limits on the amount of nicotine that can be in them. It’s also expected to restrict which flavours can be sold.

In their most recent budget, the Liberals proposed an excise tax on vape products as of Oct. 1.

Now, it’s as if Health Canada is fighting the war on two fronts, Callard said.

The department has been focusing resources on youth vaping, leaving anti-smoking groups like Callard’s concerned that a tobacco strategy may be falling by the wayside.

The recent audit shows the department has been taking on projects to reduce tobacco use, but it won’t be enough to meet their own targets.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups like Rights4Vapers say smokers are being punished for making a healthier choice.

“It is probably the only addiction currently where we continue to use fear and shame to get individuals to quit,” said Maria Papaioannoy, the group’s spokesperson and a vape store owner.

The strategy does appear to be at odds with the harm-reduction approach the government has embraced when it comes to to drug use, said David Sweanor, chair of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics.

“We’ve seen the success replicated numerous times simply by giving people alternatives, which is consistent with what we’ve done with things like clean needles, safe injection sites,” said Sweanor, who contributed to the 1988 Tobacco Products Control Act.

The government must table its legislative review this year. The discussion paper the department released touches almost exclusively on how to toughen vaping regulations, Sweanor said, though that’s not what the legislation was primarily set out to do.

“Is it accomplishing what it’s supposed to be accomplishing? Are there ways that you can improve it?” he said.

“Instead, what we got is a document that takes very few aspects of, primarily, their anti-vaping strategy.”

In the paper the government says the review will focus on vaping regulations because the vaping products market in Canada has changed so much in the years since the law was passed.

The review gives the opportunity to examine whether the act offers the government enough authority to address the rise in youth vaping, the paper said.

“A full assessment of whether the measures taken since the legislation was introduced in 2018 have been effective in responding to the rise in youth vaping will benefit from more time and data. Subsequent reviews will continue to monitor youth use along with other dimensions of the Act,” the document reads.

Advocates for and against using vaping as a way to transition people away from harmful cigarette smoke agree, tobacco is being left out of the conversation.

“Tobacco remains the fundamental problem,” said Callard. “It’s tobacco that continues to kill.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.


Laura Osman, The Canadian Press




India-Canada news: Sikh groups call for 'united front' – CTV News



We use cookies and data to

  • Deliver and maintain Google services
  • Track outages and protect against spam, fraud, and abuse
  • Measure audience engagement and site statistics to understand how our services are used and enhance the quality of those services

If you choose to “Accept all,” we will also use cookies and data to

  • Develop and improve new services
  • Deliver and measure the effectiveness of ads
  • Show personalized content, depending on your settings
  • Show personalized ads, depending on your settings

If you choose to “Reject all,” we will not use cookies for these additional purposes.


Non-personalized content is influenced by things like the content you’re currently viewing, activity in your active Search session, and your location. Non-personalized ads are influenced by the content you’re currently viewing and your general location. Personalized content and ads can also include more relevant results, recommendations, and tailored ads based on past activity from this browser, like previous Google searches. We also use cookies and data to tailor the experience to be age-appropriate, if relevant.

Select “More options” to see additional information, including details about managing your privacy settings. You can also visit at any time.

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading


Society in Problematic Transition



The Cavalier Religious Right Wing with its ambitious political support(Republicans in America and Conservatives in Canada) is busy at work in front of our legislatures, City Halls, and City Parks promoting their firebrand anti-this and anti-that. In the name of the children(teachers union call sign) this umbrella organization of disgruntled populists, foot soldiers of ideologies and faiths of the past, present themselves as concerned parents, protectors of righteous education, and a building block towards a socio-religious bulwark against societal confusion. The religious right believes society has moved away from the historically accepted status quo, where man and woman are seen as easy examples of God’s design. Talk of Genders, trans-gender washrooms, the right to reveal your true self, and even self-expression itself is seen as attacks upon faith-built communities, the North America of the past, and even upon God (Himself).

Some progressive groups counterprotest these ever-growing pressure groups, attempting to protect the rights, granted and fought for by The LGBTQ+ Community Emotions are high, as these entrenched yet powerful movements, one of religion vs. Individual expressed rights take the field in many communities across this continent. Book burning in America along with commonplace censorship of books and even teachers who do not meet their expectations, pressuring legislatures or parliament alike with donations and even threats to unseat present-day politicians and replace them with elected officials that support the right.

This umbrella group comprises many conservative faiths, where Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims seem to have buried their competitive hatchet to face down their progressive opponents. Politicians cannot ignore this group, for fear of elections lost, or revenue reserves depleted by this group’s efforts. Mothers, parents, pastors, mullahs, priests, rabbis, and others standing in place representing their God, and their faith, perhaps viewed as closed-minded, but nonetheless determined in their Sacred Books Revelations. Power found within their faith, perhaps tunnel-visioned, but righteous in the world eye’s, just as their efforts against abortion show. An understanding of the different disallowed, or seen as wrongful perversion. The struggle between two essential absolutes, one struggling to get closer to their God, the other to their true human meaning, struggles to see what cannot be fully seen, only felt emotionally and physically. To be true to one’s self, instead of an outer presence.

These events can lead to the toppling of governments, politicians’ careers, and the transformation of social domestic policy. Religiosity and sexual-transitional rights are democratically challenging. The two solitudes are famously uncooperative with each other or democratic agencies. How do you work with two opposites who believe themselves to be right in their efforts and determination to change the direction of society and human affairs?


Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

Continue Reading


Canada is still processing visas for Indian nationals



A recent diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has placed a strain on the relationship between the two countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to a disagreement surrounding the killing of a prominent Canadian-Sikh leader in British Columbia. Trudeau says there is credible intelligence to confirm that agents of the Indian government were involved in the assassination. Modi refutes this.

As a result, on Thursday, September 21, BLS, India’s visa processing centres in Canada, suspended services citing operational reasons. This includes centres in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

Earlier this week in New York, when asked outright if Canada would reciprocate, Trudeau said his focus was to maintain the rule of law in Canada. He said Canada would continue to do the work it took to keep Canadians safe.


There has been no indication that Canada will stop processing visas for Indian nationals, and it is still accepting new applications as it normally does.

Processing times for visas for Indian nationals looking to come to Canada remain the same as always. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process all 80% of applications within service standards, regardless of nationality.

Canada a safe country

In addition to closing its visa processing centres in Canada, India has issued a travel advisory for Indians travelling to Canada, citing safety concerns.

Speaking with the Canadian Press, Immigration Minister Marc Miller urged Indians who are concerned about safety to remain calm.

“I think everyone knows Canada is a safe country and given the events of the last two or three days and the seriousness of the allegations that – it’s important for everyone to stay calm.”

Canada consistently ranks among the safest countries in the world. According to the most recent Global Peace Index, Canada came in 11th position for 2023.

Further, a 2022 report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) found that international students consistently choose Canada for their education because of its unique reputation for safety and tolerance.

The CBIE found that in 2022, 40% of international students in Canada were Indian. This is despite a similar warning from India’s government in September 2022.

IRCC reports that there were 800,000 international students in Canada in 2022. This means approximately 320,000 Indian students were studying in Canada during the last academic year.

Indians in Canada

India is the largest source country for immigration in Canada. In 2022, there were 118,095 Indians who gained permanent residence in Canada. Of these, 59,503 Indians transitioned from permanent residents to Canadian citizens.

Canada has ambitious immigration targets in the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan. It hopes to admit more than 500,000 permanent residents each year by the end of 2025. The next Plan is expected by November 1 this year, but Minister Miller has said he doesn’t anticipate the targets will be lowered.


Source link

Continue Reading