Quebec’s vaping legislation upheld by Appeal Court

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned parts of a lower court ruling that struck down certain provisions of the provincial Tobacco Control Act and upheld the constitutionality and right of the province to apply its tough and comprehensive tobacco legislation on e-cigarettes, including robust restrictions on vaping advertising.

The decision, hailed by anti-tobacco groups, held that the Quebec government had the right to curb the potential effect of electronic cigarette advertising, particularly on young people. The Appeal Court also upheld the government’s right to ban demonstrations of vaping products inside shops, something that five jurisdictions allow including Ontario and the four Western provinces.

“This is a really important judgment to protect youth from e-cigarette advertising and from tobacco companies,” said Rob Cunningham, a lawyer and senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, intervenors in the case. “The Court recognized the importance of protecting youth from advertising. Allowing advertising where youth can be exposed to it is only going to increase youth vaping levels that would be higher than otherwise would be the case.”

Though disappointed with the decision, Daniel Payette, a Quebec City lawyer who represented the Association des Vapoteries du Québec (AVQ), said he is nonetheless pleased that the unanimous judgment found that vaping is “clearly less dangerous than combustible” cigarettes and that it can be used to “reduce harm” caused by combustible tobacco and to help people quit smoking. (Vaping has not been approved by Health Canada as a smoking cessation product).

“We regret that the Court did not go to the end of the reasoning to invalidate the legislative measures which in Quebec hinder smokers’ access to vaping products, while the Canadian Senate had clearly recommended promoting this access, while controlling the market to prevent young people from taking up vaping,” added Payette.

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This story was originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily.

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