Vapers protest ‘dramatic’ tax increase in Ontario

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Published November 7, 2023 at 2:23 pm

vaping tax ontario
Photo: Renz Macorol

A plan to increase taxes on vaping products in Ontario has sparked protests from those who vape as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy’s fall economic statement last week included a plan to add a provincial excise duty to vaping products, which would double the current federal duty rates.

The tax is meant to deter people, particularly young people, from vaping due to the health risks. The Heart and Stroke Foundation says vaping rates among the youngest teens are on the rise, and emerging evidence shows vaping can harm the respiratory system, mental health and blood pressure.

But this week, Rights4Vapers, Canada’s largest vapers’ rights movement, protested “dramatic increases in taxation.” They said vapour products are an effective tobacco harm reduction tool and a proven method to help adult smokers quit smoking, and as such they should remain as affordable as possible.

“We are at a critical moment for vapour products. We are being attacked from every angle,” said Maria Papaioannoy, spokesperson for Rights4Vapers in a press release.

“All we want is for adult Canadians who smoke to have an affordable less harmful choice. Signing on to the federal government’s proposal to add a matching provincial excise tax to vapour products will increase a 60 ml bottle of e-liquid by $10 to $44.95. We must keep vapour products affordable.”

Rights4Vapers say vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking. Health Canada does say vaping is less harmful than continuing to smoke but it is not harmless and not intended for young people. Vaping could cause lung damage and the long-term effects are not yet known.

Papaioannoy argued the government is getting less tax from tobacco and losing money.

“So, what do they do? Target the only real harm-reduced product on the market and drive up the taxation on it. Maybe they want to get people smoking again? It’s mind-boggling that the Ontario government is not seeing the bigger picture.”

Any additional tax on vapour products will simply move sales into the black market, Rights4Vapers said.

“Ontarians who vape deserve so much better than to be treated as a piggybank to fill government coffers. All we want is an affordable alternative to smoking. The finance minister will be hearing this message loud and clear in the weeks ahead,” said Ms. Papaioannoy.

Rights4Vapers is an organization of vaping advocates dedicated to the advancement of Canadian-based research on vaping. For more information, see the website here.

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