Health Canada inspectors seized vaping products at specialty stores in Vernon and Kelowna last week, according to the federal agency.
“Health Canada takes non-compliance with the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) very seriously and has a robust compliance and enforcement plan to verify industry compliance with prohibitions on the sale and promotion of vaping products,” the department’s email stated.
Health Canada did not disclose the name of the specialty vaping business or offer estimates of the total retail value of the seized products, but Interior Health Tobacco Enforcement officer Emelia Gazsity estimated its value at $1 million.
“I made a call because I got a complaint about a business that was specifically honing in on kids and they had sent out 875 Facebook requests to kids,” Gazsity said at a public forum held Nov. 21 at the Vernon Library.
In response, Health Canada inspectors visited the business locations in Vernon and Kelowna approximately four weeks ago, according to Gazsity.
She said the Facebook requests were specifically targeting high school kids and with the aim to bring in multiple flavours for the kids.
In Friday’s email response, Health Canada said its enforcement plan includes inspecting specialty vape shops and convenience stores and verifying company’s are complying with advertising regulations for the sale on websites and via social media.
“I’m not wanting to shut down the vaping industry, I really think it has a place as a harm reduction tool,” Gazsity said on Nov. 21.
“It’s just what they were doing is promoting to kids and starting to get kids addicted, and that’s not a good thing.”
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act was enacted in May 2018 to regulate the manufacturing, sale labelling and promotion of tobacco and vaping products, according to Health Canada’s website.
The legal framework is geared towards protecting youth from being induced to using vaping products.
“Health Canada shares the concerns of parents, stakeholders, educators and health professionals related to youth use of vaping products in Canada,” the department said, adding it will continue to monitor non-compliance activity to protect youth and others from inducements to use vaping products.
Complaints about a company or retailer’s compliance with the TVPA can be submitted to Health Canada by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.