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Friday, 24 November 2017

Ontario “health measure” has the potential for deadly consequences

Ontario’s Liberal government is attempting to sneak through legislation that will lead to death and disease, destroy small businesses, ignore the rights of consumers and protect the cigarette business. It is time to put complacency aside, and scream.

I proudly own a vape shop. I get called a lot of things as a strong minded woman willing to speak my mind in a misunderstood industry. But one thing that I hate being called is VAPING ENTHUSIAST.  Seriously folks? It’s no longer a fad. It’s a growing industry that contributes to economic growth in our communities through an estimated 1,000 small businesses. These small businesses support more than 900,000 Ontarians who current use vapour products – all over the age of 19 – as a means to quit smoking cigarettes.

When is the last time you saw this headline “Methadone Enthusiasts Fight to have Access to Clinics”.  You’ve never seen it because as a society we empathize with the addiction of drug addicts. It’s a mental illness, right? We empathize with those who are addicted to hard drugs, or prescription pills. We accept that what they are trying to overcome is often bigger than them, and we respect, and (in the case of most governments) we supply and pay for their choice of harm reduction.  Before someone rants about nicotine use being somehow different, consider that experts find smoking to be at least as addictive as heroin or cocaine. The goal is reducing risk for anyone; regardless of the cause or nature of their risks. Vaping has more in common with methodone, or seatbelts, or sanitary food manufacturing, than it does with smoking. And it’s time our government and society as a whole understood that.

This is not about whether people should be vaping.  It is a matter of empowering people to choose a less harmful way of satisfying their addiction and reduce the health. I am here to defend that position that that Vaping is not smoking, and should no more be treated like cigarettes than a vaccine should be treated like the disease it seeks to protect against. Since I opened my vape shop, every letter I write, every protest I organize, every interview I give, the message is the same. Regulate vaping as a far less hazardous alternative to cigarettes, rather than as if it was on par with smoking cigarettes. Trying to force fit a new industry and painting it with the same brush as deadly cigarette smoking means we will take away choice for a healthier alternative.

I hate to break this news to the folks that judge smokers as sinners needing to repent, but the truth is quitting smoking is hard. Impossible for many even.  For many people an abstinence-only doctrine on nicotine is a death sentence, and I know because I meet these people every day. Indeed, I was one of them.  Nicotine dependence is not something that you should be flippant about and make remarks like “why don’t you just quit?”.  Would you say that to someone suffering from any other addiction that kills 100 Canadians a day?

Currently, our Ontario politicians are scrambling to figure what to do with “the vapers”.  Their only solution, embodied in Bill 174, is to try to rush an abstinence-only agenda through the legislature without any significant public hearings, or a review of the science or human rights issues that should inform policy making. They are protecting the cigarette trade, and their resulting tax revenue, rather than the health of the people they are elected to serve.

As a group, vapers can make a lot of noise. Protests have been held outside of MPP’s offices. Over nie thousand letters have been sent to our provincial politicians. But Liberal MPP’s across this province have been given scripting that says, just as we have long heard from other abstinence-only campaigners, “we are doing it to save the children” and using a biased selection of science, while ignoring the recommendations of experts such as the UK’s prestigious Royal College of Physicians.


Please! How little they think of us; assuming we haven’t read the science when it is our lives that are on the line. And we have also followed Dr. David Hammond of the University of Waterloo in discussing research on vaping and teenagers. In a recent Global Television story he was quoted as saying “A lot of what we’re seeing in our study and a lot of other studies out there is a simple fact, and that is the kids who do risky things, the ones that are more likely to try e-cigarettes are also more likely to try smoking, and guess what? They’re also more likely to try alcohol and marijuana. It’s all to do with the fact that kids who are susceptible are going to try different things.” Now as a parent, which would you rather your child try? Vaping, which is shown to be 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes and is available without nicotine, or smoking?

We all care about young people. But feigned concern about them should not give governments the right to enact policies that will almost certainly lead to the premature deaths of so many of their parents and grandparents.

The Government of Ontario should look to the history of dealing with AIDS and of auto and workplace safety and of alcohol prohibition. Policy should be based on facts, not moralism, and should seek to empower rather than punish. The same ‘nothing about us without us’ that was so important in the change in government policies with respect to those at risk of AIDS should be adopted when dealing with policies aimed at dealing with the carnage caused by cigarettes.

It’s time. It’s Ontario. We can do better.

for more information go to

Monday, 13 November 2017

These are crazy times in the vaping world! Federally we are being legislated by the Senate introduced Bill-S5, and most recently the Ontario government has decided to launch draconian type of legislation that would be detrimental to the Ontario vaping industry.

MPP Randy Hillier wrote a great email explaining everything, so we are sharing it so you can inform yourselves as well.

We want to encourage everyone to reach out to their MPP and let them know that Schedule 3 of Bill 174 should be removed.

Please take a moment to review MPP Hillier's email message.

With the introduction of the Ontario Liberal government’s marijuana retail legislation, this government has triggered a heavy crackdown on the vaping community and introduced further prohibitions on tobacco harm reduction products.
I need help from you and the vape community in demanding that the government separate these new prohibitions from Bill 174 so that they can be debated and voted on honestly.

Under schedule 3 of Bill 174 - Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017, vape shops will be prohibited from displaying vape devices, components or juices, allowing their customers to handle vape products, or test flavours before purchase.This bill places further restrictions on areas of use, and where exemptions are made, those using vape products are forced to share spaces with those using traditional tobacco products.

Schedule 3 of this bill also introduces a mechanism for the government to prohibit the sale of certain flavours of vape products through regulation. Regulations do not come before the Legislature for debate and may be made at will by the government. Given this governments penchant to ban flavoured tobacco products I would not be surprised to see flavours described as “kid friendly”, such as Cotton Candy, Rice Crispies and Gummi Bears as well as other ordinary flavours such as vanilla, chocolate, grape or other fruit flavours, be swiftly prohibited shortly after this bill is passed.

It is unacceptable to me that they would incorporate further prohibitions on tobacco harm reduction products in the same piece of legislation meant to enact the legal retail and distribution of cannabis. 

It is imperative that Schedule 3 of the act be separated from the bill and the merits of the additional prohibition and restrictions on vape products be debated and voted on separate from those enacting the legal sale and distribution of cannabis. 

As you may be aware, the framework for the legal sale and distribution of cannabis must be in place by July 1st meaning that this bill is most likely to be adopted. Therefore it is up to us to speak out and make sure schedule 3 is separated from the bill.

The vape community needs to come together and tell the government we want Schedule 3 of Bill 174 separated!

I encourage everyone to write to the Premier, Attorney General, Minister of Health, Minister of Transport and the House Leaders of each party, whose contact information you can find below, voicing your support for the separation of Schedule 3 from the bill so that it can be debated and voted on independently.
Share this email with your friends, families and local vape shops so that we can have the greatest sum of our voices heard!

MPP Randy Hillier

Premier - Kathleen Wynne 416-325-1941
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Attorney General - Yasir Naqvi 
Office of the Government House Leader
Room 223, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care - Eric
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4
Minister of Transportation – Steven Del Duca
Ministry of Transportation
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8
PC House Leader – Jim 
Room 241, North Wing, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8

Third Party House Leader – Giles
Room 112, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5

Randy Hillier