A new piece of proposed legislation in Canada is making the rounds of the parliament which could lead to hefty fines and even jail time for vaping advocates who even discuss the many health benefits of vaping. The new bill is known as Bill S-5, and it is aimed primarily at researchers, scholars, and scientists who predominately work in the field of vaping and e-cigs.
However, if Bill S-5 becomes law, it could also silence vape shop owners and retailers from discussing the advantages of e-cigs and vaping technology as a smoking cessation tool.
The law would only apply to vaping technology. Oddly, retailers of Big Pharma products like “the patch” and nicotine gum are not included in the new ban.
It’s happened before
These tactics of prohibition against the scientific community of divulging certain types of information about vaping to the public-at-large is nothing new for the Canadian vaping industry. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper once tried to place a gag order on this same group of scientists once before. The story was eventually picked up by the Canadian press in the form of a CBC report that led to enormous public backlash, and the gag order was rescinded.
Now that Canada has a new Prime Minister in Justin Trudeau, this devilish tactic is rearing its ugly head once again. Bill S-5 was first introduced to the Canadian Parliament in late 2016. It has already gained the approval of two of the three branches of government required for the proposed vaping legislation to become an official law. It is specifically designed to restrict scientists from granting public access to pro-vaping research and to prohibit vape shops and retailers from quoting this research in their marketing strategies.
Canada anti-vaping law can lead to $500,000 in fines or 2-years in jail
So, what are the criteria that determine which scientific research is deemed sharable and which is prohibited? Canadian vaping advocates claim that Bill S-5 is written in such broad terms that it is nearly impossible to distinguish which studies are legal and which are not.
In fact, the law clearly states that a fine of $500,000 or a jail term of up to 2-years could be imposed if a vape shop even verbally discusses or references a scientific, pro-vaping study during the normal course of daily business. Furthermore, the penalties for repeat offenses are not clearly outlined.
Vaping scientists are living in fear
According to a recent article in the Toronto Sun from February 26, 2017, many Canadian scientists are growing increasingly worried about the future of their work. When PM Harper previously placed an immediate gag order on the scientific community, much in the same way that a U.S. President can immediately implement a “Muslim Ban” simply by signing an executive order, researchers were immediately and unequivocally forced to comply or face the consequences.
For the Canadian vaping industry, passage of Bill S-5 would be financially crippling. If retailers cannot promote their products – either verbally or through online or conventional marketing efforts – that smoking is infinitely healthier than smoking, then how can they compete against the more traditional nicotine replacement therapies that would not be covered under the new law?
Does Bill S-5 create a ‘scientific monopoly’ for Big Pharma?
If Bill S-5 becomes law, then even the mere mentioning of the infamous 2015 report from the UK Royal College of Physicians claiming that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking would become an illegal act. So, why is Canada allowing such controversial legislation to come to a Parliamentary vote? Perhaps Big Pharma is manipulating the political purse strings behind the scenes.
Bill S-5 only applies to the vaping industry. Meanwhile, retailers of other smoking cessation methods like “the patch” and nicotine gum could still reference scientific studies in their promotional campaigns. Bill S-5 creates a sort of ‘scientific monopoly” in favor of Big Pharma products. Is Big Pharma behind this controversial legislation? Follow the money!
Article Credit: Matt Rowland