The federal government is planning to ban e-cigarette promotions from convenience stores, public transit and all social-media platforms in response to a major rise in teen vaping and fears of health risks.
But the proposed new rules it announced on Thursday do not restrict the sale of flavoured e-cigarette products.
The move comes in response to months of increasing pressure to crack down on the vaping industry, which heavily promotes its products in stores, other public places and online. Social media are rife with ads and promotions from vaping companies.
A recent Globe and Mail investigation found that many e-cigarette companies use Instagram, Facebook and other platforms to post about their products and sponsor product giveaways, and hire paid influencers. Many of those activities, such as the use of influencers, are already illegal under current federal vaping rules, and health organizations said a blanket advertising ban would be necessary.
The plan announced on Thursday is the first new measure to address the rise in youth vaping. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed Health Minister Patty Hajdu in her mandate letter to restrict vaping promotions and look at “additional measures.”
Ottawa now faces pressure to regulate e-cigarette flavours. Members of Canada’s vaping industry oppose a ban or restrictions on flavours, saying they are an essential component in attracting existing adult smokers. But health organizations cite flavours as the key driver of youth vaping, and say rules designed to stop the promotion of candy, dessert and other varieties that could appeal to teens aren’t working.
New figures released by Health Canada on Thursday show the number of students in Grades 7 to 12 who say they vaped in the past month doubled in 2018-19 compared with 2016-17. One in five students reported vaping in the previous 30 days, the new survey said.
Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said the new measures are strong and that the ban on social-media ads would help curb ads aimed at young people.
“They will have a significant impact to reduce youth exposure to vaping promotions and, as a result, reduce youth vaping,” Mr. Cunningham said.
Under the proposed changes, vaping promotions would be permitted only in specialty vape shops for adults. Online promotions would also be limited to websites that restrict access to minors, although it’s unclear how this would be enforced. The new rules are subject to a 30-day comment period, after which the government can finalize them.
Flory Doucas, co-director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, said she was encouraged by the crackdown on promotions. But she questioned why the government didn’t also regulate flavoured e-cigarettes.
“How much more time is required for this?” she said.
Ms. Hajdu’s office said new rules are expected in the coming months on flavoured e-cigarette products and nicotine concentrations.
Eric Gagnon, head of corporate and regulatory affairs with Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., said the government “needs to find a way to at least allow a dialogue with adult smokers.” Mr. Gagnon said the company wants to be able to indicate on e-cigarette products that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Health Canada is considering whether to allow e-cigarette companies to use such claims.
He added that banning e-cigarette flavours would be “ridiculous” because adults want them, too.
In an e-mailed statement, Juul Labs Canada said it “supports Health Canada’s efforts to strike the right regulatory balance” for keeping products away from youth.
Darryl Tempest, executive director of the Canadian Vaping Association, which represents specialty vape shops, said the organization supports the advertising restrictions. But he added that he doesn’t think flavoured products should be banned, saying they are not responsible for youth uptake and that many adult smokers like them.
A recent survey conducted by Smoke-Free Nova Scotia found 96 per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds who vaped said they preferred flavoured products. Nearly half of the 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed said they would likely stop vaping if flavours were eliminated.
Enforcement of the new rules could pose a challenge. In a letter sent on Thursday to the vaping industry and posted on its website, Health Canada said a recent enforcement blitz found more than 80 per cent of specialty vape shops sell and promote products in ways that violate federal rules.
The most common infractions include promoting flavours that could appeal to young people, including candy or desserts, and the use of testimonials or endorsements. Federal law defines testimonials as the use of people, animals or characters.
Inspectors seized more than 80,000 units of non-complaint products, the letter said.
“This level of non-compliance is unacceptable,” wrote Krista Locke, director-general of the consumer products and controlled substances directorate at Health Canada.
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U.S. FAA seeks new minimum rest periods for flight attendants between shifts
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to require flight attendants receive at least 10 hours of rest time between shifts after Congress had directed the action in 2018, according to a document released on Thursday.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and others, had previously estimated the rule would cost its members $786 million over 10 years for the 66% of U.S. flight attendants its members employ, resulting from things like unpaid idle time away from home and schedule disruptions.
Aviation unions told the FAA the majority of U.S. flight attendants typically do receive 10 hours of rest from airlines but urged the rule’s quick adoption for safety and security reasons.
Under existing rules, flight attendants get at least 9 hours of rest time but it can be as little as 8 hours in certain circumstances.
“Flight attendants serve hundreds of millions of passengers on close to 10 million flights annually in the United States,” the FAA said, adding that they “perform safety and security functions while on duty in addition to serving customers.”
It cited reports about the “potential for fatigue to be associated with poor performance of safety and security related tasks,” including in 2017, when a flight attendant reported almost causing the gate agent to deploy an emergency exit slide, which was attributed to fatigue and other issues.
The FAA estimated the regulation could prompt the industry to hire another 1,042 flight attendants and cost $118 million annually. If hiring assumptions were cut in half, it said, that would cut estimated costs by over 30%.
After the FAA published an advance notice of the planned rules in 2019, Delta announce it would mandate the 10-hour rest requirement by February 2020.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is testifying at a U.S. House Transportation subcommittee hearing on Thursday.
House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio said on Wednesday that it was “unacceptable” to delay the FAA adopting the flight attendant rest rule and mandating secondary flight deck barriers to better protect the cockpits on all newly manufactured airliners.
Attorneys at the FAA “need a little poke” to move faster on rules when ordered by Congress, DeFazio said on Thursday at the hearing. “Do not screw around with it for three years… you just do it.”
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants representing 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, said the rule was critical.
“Flight attendant fatigue is real. COVID has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short night, and combative conditions on planes,” she said. “Congress mandated 10 hours irreducible rest in October 2018, but the prior administration put the rule on a process to kill it.”
During the pandemic, flight attendants have dealt with records numbers of disruptive, occasionally violent passenger incidents, with the FAA citing 4,837 unruly passenger reports, including 3,511 for refusing to wear a mask since Jan. 1.
The FAA proposes to make the new flight attendant rest rules final 30 days after it publishes its final rules.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jason Neely and Bill Berkrot)
Bitcoin price hits all-time high, one day after U.S. ETF debut – Global News
The world’s leading cryptocurrency was up 3.30 per cent, trading at US$66,364.72, after reaching a record of US$67,016.50, topping the US$64,895.22 hit on April 14 this year.
Tuesday was the first day of trading for the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF — a development market participants say is likely to drive investment into the digital asset.
The ETF closed up 2.59 per cent at US$41.94 from its opening price of US$40.88 on Tuesday and continued its ascent on Wednesday, last up 3.76 per cent at US$43.52.
The Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF, expected to debut on the Nasdaq Wednesday, appeared to be delayed after its prospectus was amended in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A person familiar with the matter said the Nasdaq expects the ETF to launch on Thursday, but that has not been confirmed yet.
El Salvador becomes 1st country to adapt Bitcoin as legal tender
Trading appeared to be dominated by smaller investors and high-frequency trading firms, analysts said, noting the absence of large block trades indicated that institutions were likely staying on the sidelines.
James Quinn, managing partner at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency private wealth manager, said the launch of the new product was “meaningful” for bitcoin.
Theoretically, any licensed brokerage firm in the United States which wants to take on this ETF can do so as easily as any other ETF, which “should make it available to a lot of folks,” said Quinn.
While the ETF is based on bitcoin futures, Quinn said the trades and hedges underpinning the ETF means activity will flow into the spot market and the bitcoin price.
Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe amid surging interest in digital assets. VanEck is also among fund managers pursuing U.S.-listed ETF products, although Invesco on Monday dropped its plans for a futures-based ETF.
Ether, the world’s No. 2 cryptocurrency, was up 3.63 per cent on the day at US$4,018.75, after hitting a high of US$4,080, nearing its record high of US$4,380 reached on May 12.
© 2021 Reuters
Failure to attract capital for energy transition puts jobs at risk: report – The Globe and Mail
Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be at risk if Canada fails to attract sufficient private capital to transform its industries for life in a low-carbon global economy, a study by a federally supported climate think tank says.
As many as 800,000 jobs are dependent on sectors vulnerable to disruption in such a transition, including oil and gas, mining, heavy industry and auto manufacturing, according to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices.
Those industries account for almost 70 per cent of Canada’s exports and generated more than $300-billion in export revenue and investment in 2019.
Effective policy and regulations, targeted public spending and corporate disclosure of climate risks will be key to attracting private capital and keeping the country competitive in the coming decades, the institute said.
“Canada is at a pivotal moment, when global markets are changing and governments and businesses face a choice of whether to take action to transform the economy to succeed in new market realities or watch our competitive position in the world erode,” said Rachel Samson, the organization’s clean growth research director and lead author of the report.
It is being released a little more than a week before a UN conference in Glasgow to discuss strengthening national commitments to reduce emissions. The financial sector will play a major role in the talks.
Governments and businesses will have to invest as much as $2-trillion to retool Canada’s economy to get emissions to net zero by 2050, according to a report by RBC Economics released Wednesday. The money will be required for a range of things, including modernizing and greening the power grid to allow the mass adoption of electric vehicles and retrofitting buildings to make them energy-efficient.
Ms. Samson said it would be wrong to consider the required spending as costs that would just disappear into the financial system; instead, it is an investment in cleaner economic growth. “So, in terms of thinking about the price tag, I think we have to think about the overall impact on the well-being of Canadians,” she said.
The researchers designed the study, called “Sink or Swim,” as a stress test for the economy as climate considerations take on a greater role and investors seek assets they deem sustainable. This is where competitiveness is key, they said.
Investors around the world will redirect trillions of dollars away from high-carbon sectors as countries try to meet net-zero targets. That will shift trade patterns, transform demand and put businesses that are slow to adapt in jeopardy, the study said.
Every Canadian province and territory has workers in sectors that are vulnerable to disruption in the transition to clean energy, the study said. Alberta, with its large oil and gas and energy service sectors, has the highest proportion of such workers, at 9.1 per cent of the work force, followed by the Northwest Territories at 7 per cent, Saskatchewan at 6 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador at 5.8 per cent.
The institute argues that climate strategies have to encompass more than reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A coal mine with low emissions, for example, will still face financial issues as power generators and steelmakers move away from coal-fired facilities in response to pressure from their own governments or investors. One solution for such a business would be to switch to the minerals required for renewable energy sources or EV batteries, it said.
The report said establishing ambitious national climate targets would mean a far smaller hit to gross domestic product by 2050 than acting slowly or maintaining the status quo. With aggressive action, the economy would experience a small increase to GDP from the transition by 2050 and a loss of about 2 per cent from physical climate risk, whereas maintaining the status quo would cut GDP by almost 5 per cent and provide no uplift from the transition, it said.
Ms. Samson said mustering the political will to set policies for getting to net zero is less of a stumbling block than it was in previous years.
“It’s not only about political will anymore. Markets are developing momentum of their own,” she said. “Investors are now actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon-related risks, and unions as well have shifted toward advocating for companies to take greater action to improve their transition readiness. They see it as the way to have a future that has secure jobs.”
Jeffrey Jones writes about sustainable finance and the ESG sector for The Globe and Mail. E-mail him at email@example.com.
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