Consumer Responses to Provincial and Federal Restrictions on E-Cigarettes in Canada
Until recently, Canada exempted e-cigarettes from many of the restrictions applied to combustible tobacco, intending to support adult smoking cessation. However, rising rates of youth experimentation have prompted Health Canada and the Department of Finance to restrict e-cigarettes. A federal restriction on the nicotine content of e-liquids was implemented in July of 2021 and comprehensive ban on e-cigarette flavors has been proposed and an e-cigarette excise tax is to be implemented in October 2022. In addition, a number of Canadian provinces have also adopted e-cigarette restrictions. The utility of such policies should be assessed not only on their effect on youth vaping, but adult vaping and, relatedly, smoking cessation. Other unintended consequences including supply-side adaptations (changes in product characteristics) and demand-side adaptations (modified vaping frequency, changes in vaping methods and, perhaps increased demand for illicit products) all carry potentially significant implications for public health, which should be considered by policy analysts.