Besides extending life expectancy, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) highlights that vaping could also save taxpayers billions of dollars otherwise spent on tobacco-related diseases.
Figures by Health Canada revealed that just in 2012, smoking-attributable mortality resulted in nearly 600,000 potential years of life lost, mainly via malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases.
“The total costs of tobacco use were $16.2 billion, with indirect costs accounting for over half of total costs (58.5 per cent) and direct costs accounting for the remainder (41.5 per cent). Health care costs were the largest component of direct costs attributable to smoking, coming in at roughly $6.5 billion in 2012. This included the costs associated with prescription drugs ($1.7 billion), physician care ($1.0 billion), and hospital care ($3.8 billion). The federal, provincial, and territorial governments also spent $122.0 million on tobacco control and law enforcement,” said Health Canada.
“The indirect costs related to smoking, which reflect production losses (i.e., foregone earnings) as a result of smoking-attributable morbidity and premature mortality were also estimated. These production losses amounted to $9.5 billion overall, of which almost $2.5 billion were due to premature mortality and $7.0 billion were due to short- and long-term disability.”
Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board Darryl Tempest, said that policymakers should take into account these health gains when setting in place vape taxes. “Over time, the loss of tobacco tax revenue is recouped by the savings in health care and the various indirect costs. When determining the excise tax rate on vape products legislators should consider the health benefits of transitioning smokers, as well as the corresponding savings in health care. Canada has already passed vaping regulation to achieve its youth prevention goals. Instead of using damaging heavy-handed taxation, the government should ensure that current regulations are enforced.”
The Implementation Report of the Tobacco Control Act
In response to the Implementation Report of the Tobacco Control Act, which was tabled in November 2021 on behalf of Health Minister Christian Dube, the CVA had explained that while some of the recommended restrictions made sense, some others would push vapers back to smoking.
The organization referred to data from Ontario and British Columbia, indicating that aside from high nicotine concentrations, one of the main drivers of teen vaping are unrestricted access to the products. On the other hand, adult smokers seeking to quit tend to initially benefit from consuming high nicotine products in order to prevent relapsing. In fact post TPD data from the EU had indicated that after the 20ml nicotine cap was set in place, less smokers were managing to quit via vaping.
“Effective policy does not prohibit these products altogether, but instead restricts their sale to age-restricted specialty stores. Which, by the QC govt’s own admission, meet a high standard of conformity in carding and denying access to minors,” said the CVA.