It seems that insanity reigns supreme pretty much everywhere you look these days. From the incredibly bizarre rulings down under to the outrageous propaganda emanating from the US. Nothing in the realms of tobacco harm reduction or e-cigarettes is left alone.
So you’d be forgiven for thinking that the insanity couldn’t get much worse. But it has.
You’d think from this headline that the recently passed legislation would actually be a good thing wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be way off course. Not particularly surprising really.
Today, the Ontario government passed the Making Healthier Choices Act, which will help families make healthier food choices by giving them caloric information when eating out or purchasing take-away meals. The act will also protect youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harms of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes.
The “Making Healthier Choices Act”, on the surface seems like it could actually be a reasonable idea. Providing the public with all the necessary information for them to make their own choices, until you get to the “and the potential harms of electronic cigarettes” part. You and I both know that the “potential harms” they are on about are virtually non-existent, with the obvious exception of their own deluded fantasies. So what are these freakazoids going to be doing as part of this “Act”?
- Increase the maximum fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario’s maximum fines the highest in Canada
- Ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19
- Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a temporary exemption for menthol flavoured products
There’s a few things wrong with these that I can see straight away. Increasing the maximum fines sounds like a reasonable practice in an effort to curb underage folk taking up smoking. The trouble is, these younglings will find another way to get their smokes. There is nothing about actually enforcement of the underage rulings, I mean how can you fine someone if you don’t find them first?
Banning the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19. Huh. To an extent, I do agree with restricting access to vapor products to those underage, with a big exception. If the younglings already smokes tobacco let them have access to vapor products. The trick there is knowing which of these younglings already smoke and keeping track of them.
Banning the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a temporary exemption for menthol. Uh right, didn’t I read somewhere that some folk believe the youngsters start smoking with menthol before migrating to ‘normal’ tobacco? This one smacks of industry influence and not the good kind. You can kiss bye-bye to any and all flavoured e-liquids in Ontario too. Slow clap for these guys.
And there’s more:
This new legislation makes it illegal to:-
- Use e-cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas
- Sell e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited
- Display e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes are sold, or offered for sale
- Promote e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, or offered for sale.
Don’t know about you, but I’m starting to see a pattern emerging here. Does any of that look suspiciously familiar to a certain EU Directive? The display and promote falls under Article 5. Someone opened their presents a little early didn’t they? Silly thing is, I haven’t gotten to the real kicker just yet.
To make it easier for families to make informed and healthy food choices, the new legislation will:
- Require restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other food service premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario who sell ready-to-eat and prepared food to post calories for standard food and beverage items, including alcohol, on menus and menu boards
- Require regulated food service operators to post contextual information to help educate patrons about their daily caloric requirements
- Authorize the minister to appoint inspectors to enforce menu labelling requirements.
But it gets better.
Providing Ontarians with caloric information, and protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harm of e-cigarettes is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.
Providing faster access to the right care, better home & community care, the information they need to live healthy along with a sustainable healthcare system. Or to put it another way:
In order for the Government to have total control of your lives, we want to restrict what you can enjoy and make sure you live a long but very dull life.
- Each year, tobacco claims 13,000 lives in Ontario – equivalent to 36 lives every day.
- One in four Ontario high school smokers have smoked menthol cigarettes in the last 30 days (Canada’s 2012-13 Youth Smoking Survey).
Now I have cherry picked these two for good reason. The first one seems to be a generalised statistic similar to our US “friends” use when talking about tobacco. Repeat something often enough and it becomes so ingrained that it is indistinguishable from actual fact. Whilst the second is going to be an over generalisation of the data with a lot of squiffy bias, after all most of these legislations are built of very weak ‘evidence’ and a lot of lobbying cash.
This bit gets me, every single time – “ends the tobacco industry’s practise of adding flavours to its Ontario products, which in turn will make them less attractive to youth” – flavours are not just for youth. If you really want to ban flavours to “protect the kids” then ban flavoured alcohol as well.
As well, regulation of e-cigarettes as provided by the Making Healthier Choices Act will provide reasonable control of the use and promotion of these products until research on their impact and effectiveness is much more conclusive.
There it is again, that Seven-forsaken “C” word. Why oh why do these interfering nanny statists insist on trying to control every aspect of our lives? Do they not understand that by eating what we like, having a smoke or a vape is something that we do to, I don’t know, enjoy ourselves? But of course, it was said by a director for Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. CAT in other words, but there’s nothing sweet or funny about this putty-tat that’s for damn sure.
Having now read the full proposed Electronic Cigarettes Act 2015 it would seem my earlier notes were a little out of kilter, but not by much.
Whilst this is worded more for a retailer perspective, it is worrying that they included “create an awareness of or association with an electronic cigarette” under ‘promote’. This to me is very loosely worded and very much resembles the EU TPD on the same subject and could quite easily be amended or interpreted to include on-line forums, Facebook groups or other non-commercial arenas and platforms that even mention ‘electronic cigarettes’ or any of the other definitions thereof.
Looking at the specifics on selling, pretty much banned anywhere and everywhere, including pharmacies. So they aren’t even keeping the door open for medicalisation at all. This is quite simply prohibition in all but name. You can read the full Act here, but all I can say to it is: