As we are all-too-well aware, there are many rules and regulations implemented in society that just don’t seem to make sense. For instance, rumour has it that in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, there is a law stipulating that residents can’t paint their garage doors purple. Nor can you let your lawn grow longer than one and a half inches, for that matter.
There is also a federal law prohibiting anyone from paying for goods and services with more than 25 coins. How would that have even come up? Likely throngs of disgruntled retail operators complaining about the counting they had to do.
Dig a little further, and for as many seemingly bygone by-laws out there, one can probably find just as many creative loopholes to sidestep them.
Enter synthetic nicotine.
Last year, Health Canada implemented a Nicotine Concentration in Vaping Products Regulations (NCVPR), which set a cap of 20 mg/mL for vaping products marketed in Canada. They also prohibit the packaging and sale of vaping products if the nicotine concentration stated on the package exceeds 20 mg/mL. All in response to reportedly high (and increasing) rates of youth vaping.
Keeping people safe, especially young children, is incredibly important. Just like alcohol sales and consumption, or gambling, there need to be rules, enforcement, and education in place to make sure consumers, as well as businesses, are protected and held accountable.
So where does synthetic nicotine fall in that balance? Here at 180 Smoke, we’re opening the conversation to make sure education is at the top of the list, and our community is aware of what’s going on within the industry.
Synthetic nicotine is, as its name suggests, an artificially synthesized form of nicotine. It’s developed through technology and doesn’t naturally occur in nature, in turn reportedly lacking the impurities that would be found in naturally occurring nicotine, and without the carcinogenic, cancer-causing components in more traditional nicotine delivery methods (i.e. smoking!).
Perhaps more importantly, for now? It isn’t regulated the same way nicotine is. As a result, products that contain synthetic nicotine comply with (or don’t fall under) Health Canada’s nicotine concentration regulations, with some brands coming out with 50mg synthetic nicotine options, which reportedly deliver the same effects as traditional ones while being tobacco and “nicotine” free.
That said, the loophole may be closing. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that lawmakers “proposed language that they want inserted in the Congressional omnibus budget bill that would give the FDA authority to regulate synthetic nicotine, although it is unclear if the issue will be included in the final bill,” ultimately clarifying the FDA’s ability to regulate ALL tobacco products, whether they contain natural or synthetic nicotine.
We aren’t sure what will happen here in Canada, but it does raise an important point: the goal is harm reduction, and we’re all for that. Regulation alone isn’t the issue. Fairly regulating something is more on target. There’s ample evidence that prohibition across the board for something that is in high demand only fuels grey and outright black markets, so figuring out how to balance what consumers want and need, against what they can purchase safely and securely, is the challenge.
What are your thoughts? Is synthetic nicotine simply a convenient loophole sidestepping federal regulations, or is it a legitimate and safe(r) consideration for those asking for alternatives to traditional nicotine delivery options? Let us know in the comments below.