Bill S-5 in Canada Amends the Tobacco and Non-Smokers Health Act

The Canadian government has passed a sweeping overhaul of the country's tobacco laws, legislation that will formally legalize (and heavily regulate) vaping and give Health Canada the powers it needs to mandate plain packaging for cigarettes.

The bill, S-5, is one of the most ambitious overhauls of the Tobacco Act in a generation. It enacts changes that have prompted vocal opposition from the country's largest tobacco companies — and their allies, like convenience store owners — who are steadfastly opposed to measures that will force them to remove their brands from cigarette and other tobacco packages.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Gives Health Canada the power to implement plain and standardized tobacco packaging.
  • Applies many of the existing tobacco regulations to vaping products.
  • Prohibits the sale of vaping products to minors.
  • Restricts "lifestyle" advertising for vaping products, the use of testimonials, or any reference to e-cigarettes as healthier than standard tobacco products.
  • Bans certain flavours — like "confectionery" and cannabis — for vaping products.

The bill specifically contains the following provisions:

  • Bans the use of certain ingredients in the manufacture of vaping products that suggest health benefits (e.g. vitamins) and vitality (e.g. caffeine)
  • Bans the promotion of a vaping product where specific ingredients or flavour category descriptors are used (e.g. confectionery and soft drink flavours) or where an indication or illustration relating to a flavour could otherwise be appealing to young persons (e.g. “unicorn puke” flavour)
  • Allow for the banning of additional ingredients and flavour category descriptors in response to emerging data and industry innovation.

The passing of S-5 in Canada will bring many changes to the vape industry within the country. We'll continue to follow any updates on additional regulations that are imposed under these provisions.