In Quebec, the situation of electronic cigarette shops seems more and more complicated with a tobacco policy. Constant harassment that could clearly discourage market entry.
In a chronicle of the site The sunl ”, we learn with amazement that the situation of electronic cigarette shops (vaping) is more and more complicated in Quebec. So recently the AQV has already sounded the alarm bell, the harassment to which sellers of electronic cigarettes are victims does not seem to stop!
Luc who runs a vape shop explains what happened to him during a visit from a tobacco police inspector. The inspector entered the vapoterie, he introduced himself. "He watched everything, without speaking, as if he were looking for something.»
«He looked beneath the counter, where there are the plastic bins in which I store the liquids by flavor. "On each tray, the flavor is written. "He told me that each bin was considered a billboard.Luc was speechless.
The inspector continued his tour, he noticed a bowl of plastic tips on the counter. "These are tips that are installed on the machine. He told me : "That's considered tobacco».
Weeks after the inspector's visit, Luc received three statements of offense, issued by the Ministry of Justice. His plastic bins under the counter earned him $ 7500 in fines for illegal advertising, his bowl of tips, $ 1536 "for displaying tobacco in public view", or $ 1000 in fines plus $ 536 in fresh.
À Quebec Vape Shops Association, which represents more than twenty businesses, we also find that people have trouble with law enforcement inspectors. "There is a real problem, finds Valérie Gallant, president of the Association. We hear new stories every week about, say, over-zeal. "
Since the 26 November 2015, businesses that sell vaping items are governed by the Tobacco Control Act, which was simply changed the first chapter, specifying that all articles apply to cigarettes electronic.
«This Act applies to harvested tobacco whether processed or not and regardless of its form and presentation. Tobacco, any product that contains tobacco, an electronic cigarette and any other device of that nature that is worn in the mouth to inhale any substance containing or not containing nicotine, including their components and accessories, as well as any other product or product category which, following a government regulation, is assimilated to it.»
What could be seen as a regulation is very much like a relentless deal with an industry that is embarrassing!
«There's one of the articles, for example, that says I can't make sales that are less than $ 10 for less than 20 units. It is an article that was introduced to counter the sale of single cigarettes. But me, when a customer comes to buy a mouthpiece for $ 3, I can't sell him, he has to buy for $ 10. It creates frustrations. And I can't give it to her, it's illegal!»
On the ground, it seems that the tobacco police is particularly interested in vaping, which are the subject of frequent surprise visits. Of the 8800 inspections carried out in 2017 by 31 inspectors in Quebec, almost 10% were in a steam room. According to the figures of the Ministry of Health, there are 381 points of sale in Quebec for vape products, against 7500 for tobacco.
On a pro rata basis, vaping therefore accounts for 5% of businesses targeted by the law, but for around 10% of inspections.