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On May 23, 2018, Bill S-5 (“An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts”) became law in Canada, representing a major shift in Canada’s regulatory framework, as the Bill establishes a nationalized approach to the regulation of vaping products and tobacco products through the implementation of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA).

This legislation represents a milestone for vaping products. Prior to the TVPA, vaping products were not expressly acknowledged as legal at the federal level in Canada. Further, vaping products containing nicotine were regulated under the Food and Drugs Act and required premarket approval. Canada’s modernized approach seeks to strike a balance between the goals of restricting access to tobacco and vaping products for minors, while allowing adult smokers to access vaping products and less harmful alternatives to traditional tobacco products.

 General Overview of the TVPA and Related Legislation

Under the new TVPA framework, vaping products that are not marketed with therapeutic claims are now legal and may be manufactured, distributed, and sold in Canada.[1] A “vaping product” is defined in Section 2 (Interpretation) of the TVPA as: (a) a device that produces emissions in the form of an aerosol and is intended to be brought to the mouth for inhalation of the aerosol; (b) a device that is designated to be a vaping product by the regulations; (c) a part that may be used with those devices; and (d) a substance or mixture of substances, whether or not it contains nicotine, that is intended for use with those devices to produce emissions.  Therefore, e-liquids, including zero-nicotine e-liquid, fall within this definition.

While vaping products will be permitted under the TVPA, they will be subjected to substantial regulation. The Act addresses the manufacture, sale, labeling, and promotion of tobacco products and vaping products, and major provisions will:

  • Largely apply existing tobacco regulations to vaping products[2];
  • Prohibit the sale of vaping products to minors[3];
  • Place heavy restrictions on advertising and promotion of vaping products by restricting lifestyle advertising, use of testimonials, and related claims[4];
  • Restrict the promotion of certain flavors—especially those that may allegedly appeal to minors, e.g., dessert flavors[5]; and
  • Empower Health Canada to implement regulations, including plain and standardized tobacco packaging.[6]

Certain provisions of the TVPA became effective upon Bill S-5 receiving Royal Assent on May 23, 2018 (e.g., prohibition on sale to youth), while other provisions give manufacturers and importers 180 days to comply, following Royal Assent (e.g., provisions that prohibit the manufacture and sale of vaping products containing an ingredient set out in Schedule 2, such as “colouring agents”).

Promotional Claims

Stakeholders and Health Canada are working together to ensure that the various restrictions set out in the TVPA, including those impacting promotional claims and advertising, are not overly burdensome.[7] Health Canada has acknowledged competing interests that push back on its obligation to ensure that the public is not misled by promotional practices, including a strong interest in allowing adults to access the information needed to make informed decisions about the vaping products available on the market (especially adults who are working to quit the use of tobacco products). One example is the current dialogue between Health Canada and stakeholders related to TVPA Section 30.43. Specifically, while TVPA Section 30.43 seeks to prohibit the use of certain promotional statements, e.g., statements that could lead a consumer to believe that certain health benefits will result from vaping, Health Canada has distributed a draft list of relative risk statements about vaping products that would be permitted under the TVPA, if finalized.[8] The September 4, 2018 draft of the “List of Statements for Use in the Promotion of Vaping Products” was circulated, and Health Canada accepted comments until September 17, 2018.[9] The list is now under review with the Scientific Advisory Board on Vaping Products (SAB). The seven proposed statements are:

  1. If you are a smoker, switching completely to vaping is a much less harmful option;
  2. While vaping products emit toxic substances, the amount is significantly lower than in tobacco smoke;
  3. By switching completely to vaping products, smokers are exposed to a small fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke;
  4. Switching completely from combustible tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes significantly reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxic and cancer-causing substances;
  5. Completely replacing your cigarette with a vaping product will significantly reduce your exposure to numerous toxic and cancer-causing substances;
  6. Switching completely from smoking to e-cigarettes will reduce harms to your health; and
  7. Completely replacing your cigarette with an e-cigarette will reduce harms to your health.

While the list has not yet been finalized, the collaborative effort between Health Canada and stakeholders in bringing clarity to the TVPA through exemptions and other regulatory measures evidences an effort to balance the goals of the legislation. This is in stark contrast to the Tobacco Control Act in the United States, which bans all “modified risk” claims made with FDA authorization. As we have previously blogged about here, this provision of the Tobacco Control Act is being challenged by the vapor industry.

Related Legislation

Additional legislation, such as Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act, will play a role in the approval of vaping products that contain therapeutic claims and will address other issues, such as exposure to second-hand smoke in public spaces and workplaces. The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) will also play a role in the regulation of vaping products as a whole.

The CCPSA sets forth mandatory reporting and document retention requirements, as well as a prohibition on the manufacture, import, advertisement, or sale of any consumer product that is a “danger to human health or safety,” as defined by Paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a) of the CCPSA. Further, the CCPSA empowers Health Canada to order recalls (including less severe actions, depending on degree of risk), as well as to order that testing be conducted on the consumer product of interest.[10]

Health Canada intends to introduce regulations under the CCPSA to address health and safety risks posed by vaping products. While there are currently no product-specific regulations for vaping products under the CCPSA, the CCPSA and applicable regulations, including the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR), will apply until regulations specific to vaping products are implemented.  After specific regulations take effect, general provisions of the CCPSA will continue to apply.

Canada’s Guidance Document, Vaping Products not Marketed for a Therapeutic Use (July 12, 2018), provides an overview of the health and safety requirements that exist under the CCPSA and related CCCR regulations that relate to vaping products marketed without therapeutic claims (i.e., vaping products that are not regulated as drugs under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act). The CCCR sets forth a classification-based approach to rules for consumer chemicals, including a prohibition on the sale of very toxic substances and requirements for labeling.  Child-resistant containers are also required for toxic substances.

Importantly, Section 3 of Health Canada’s Guidance Document summarizes the classifications related to nicotine that are applicable to vaping products “manufactured, imported, advertised, or sold as consumer products.” The summary from the Guidance Document states the following:

  1. Vaping liquids containing equal to or more than 66 mg/g nicotine meet the classification of “very toxic” under the CCCR, 2001 and are prohibited from being manufactured, imported, advertised, or sold under Section 38 of the CCCR, 2001.
  2. Vaping liquids containing between 10 mg/g and less than 66 mg/g nicotine meet the classification of “toxic” under the CCCR, 2001.  Stand-alone containers of these liquids must meet the CCCR, 2001 requirements for “toxic” chemicals, including child-resistant containers and hazard labelling.
  3. While the CCCR, 2001 excludes ingredients present between 0.1 mg/g and 10 mg/g when calculating a chemical product’s toxicity, Health Canada has determined that nicotine is potentially toxic via oral exposure in this concentration range. Therefore, vaping liquids containing nicotine between 0.1 mg/g and 10 mg/g or under 1% (m/m) (representations of nicotine concentration in mg/mL and mg/g are not necessarily interchangeable as mass varies with the density of the vaping liquid) that do not meet the requirements for the “toxic” classification under the CCCR, 2001 are a violation of the general prohibition set out in Paragraphs 7(a) or 8(a) of the CCPSA and are subject to enforcement action.

Section 4.3 of the Guidance Document (“Vaping Liquid Considerations”) describes additional considerations regarding whether a consumer product that is a “danger to human health or safety,” as defined by Paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a) of the CCPSA. As noted above, products that are considered to be a “danger to human health or safety” may not be manufactured, imported, advertised, or sold as a consumer product. Specific considerations for e-liquids include those related to nicotine, as described above, diluents, additives and flavors, impurities and thermal degradations products, and microbial contamination. Considerations for vaping devices focus on electrical and mechanical aspects of the product, batteries, and chargers.

Importing E-liquids into Canada from the United States

Under the TVPA, vaping products such as e-liquids may now be imported into Canada, according to Customs Notice 18-05.[11] A step-by-step guide to importing commercial goods into Canada is available here, which serves as a valuable tool.

While many manufacturers and distributors have looked to Canada as a potential market, navigating the process of importing vaping products does not come without its challenges. In addition to licensing and permits, tariff classification numbers are needed for each item, and duties and taxes must be determined prior to shipping the goods and having them released from customs. Further, provincial or territorial legislation may impose additional requirements that retailers must follow. We expect that additional guidance will be forthcoming in this regard.

Joint Efforts to Regulate Vaping Products in North America

The North American Vapor Alliance (NAVA) recently emerged as an outlet to ensure practical regulation of vaping products, and to create a unified approach to standards and regulatory regimes across the U.S. and Canada. On September 5, the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA), the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), and the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) announced that they would be engaging in this joint effort. For a copy of the press releases, see here and here.

We will continue to provide updates regarding the evolving regulatory landscape that will impact vaping products in Canada.

For more information, contact Azim Chowdhury (+1 202.434.4230, chowdhury@khlaw.com). For more information on our tobacco and e-vapor regulatory practice in general, visit khlaw.com/evaporFollow Keller and Heckman Tobacco and E-Vapor Partner Azim Chowdhury on Twitter.

 

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[1]              We note that vaping products that make therapeutic claims continue to fall within the scope of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and require premarket approval.

[2]              See TVPA, Part I.1 (Vaping Products); see also Part III (Labelling).

[3]              TVPA, Part II (Access).

[4]              TVPA, Part IV (Promotion), Division 2 (Vaping Products).

[5]              See TVPA, Sections 30.48 and 30.49 and the “Flavours” table set out in Schedule 3.

[6]              See Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 152, Number 25: Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance.

[7]              See, e.g., TVPA, Sections 30.1 through 30.8.

[8]              In preparing the list of statements, Health Canada considered public opinion from the 2018 Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes report, prepared by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (report highlights are available here), and consulted with the external Scientific Advisory Board on Vaping Products (SAB).

[9]              The draft list of statements was circulated in a September 4, 2018 email from Mathew Cook, Manager of the Regulations Division of the Tobacco Products Regulatory Office, which is part of Health Canada’s Tobacco Control Directorate.

[10]             See Sections 12(a), 31, and 32 of the CCPSA.

[11]             “Commercial shipments of vaping products with no health claims and no health product ingredients (can contain nicotine as a sole ingredient) may now be imported into Canada under the TPVA [sic].”  (See Customs Notice 18-05 (May 24, 2018), Paragraph 5).

Photo of Azim Chowdhury

This interview originally appeared here: https://www.cyclopsvapor.com/blog/qa-with-azim-chowdhury-pRight to be Smoke-Free artnerfda-group-tobacco-evapor-food-packaging-at-keller-and-heckman-llp/

Azim Chowdhury is nationally recognized as an expert on FDA issues as they relate to the tobacco and e-vapor industries. He represents tobacco, e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturers, suppliers and trade associations in matters of FDA regulatory and corporate compliance, and spearheaded Keller and Heckman’s FDA tobacco and e-cigarette practice group. Keller and Heckman LLP, founded in 1962, has a broad practice in regulatory law and related litigation and business transactions. Keller and Heckman’s comprehensive and extensive experience dealing with the regulation of food, drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements before the FDA uniquely positions the firm to guide tobacco, e-cigarette and e-liquid companies through the myriad of statutory and regulatory requirements that will soon be applicable to these products.

In the anticipation of Keller and Heckman’s *2018 E-Vapor and Tobacco Law Symposium, spoke with Chowdhury about what to expect at the second annual event.

For our readers who don’t know, can you talk a little bit about how you got into vaping law/education as a specialty?

The first time I came across a vapor product was back in 2009. While shopping at the mall, I came across a kiosk selling Smoking Everywhere cigalikes. I had been practicing law for a few years at that point and was focusing on medical devices and FDA regulations. I was immediately intrigued by the so-called “electronic cigarettes,” and started researching. When and how FDA was going to regulate vapor products was very much uncertain — the Tobacco Control Act had just become law, giving FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products, but the agency had already come out against e-cigarettes (the first time) arguing that they were unauthorized drug delivery devices. I wrote one of the first law articles on what FDA might do and how it would impact the burgeoning vapor industry for the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Update magazine (which you can findhere). I continued to write articles following the Sottera lawsuit, began speaking at conferences and attending vape expos, edited a couple of books, and quickly came to be recognized as a legal expert on vapor products.

In March 2010, I joined Keller and Heckman, a firm best known for its nationally-ranked FDA practice that includes lawyers as well as scientists, and spearheaded the E-Vapor Law Practice here. Now, we represent dozens of vapor businesses in the U.S. and around the world, including trade associations, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers in matters of federal, state and global regulatory compliance, as well as litigation, business and intellectual property issues.

This year is the second E-Vapor and Tobacco Law Symposium. Can you talk about how this year’s agenda came into play and how it changed from last year’s?

Last year we launched the inaugural E-Vapor and Tobacco Law Symposium from our offices in Washington, D.C. It was an experiment to see how this industry, which is mostly used to vape expos, trade shows and advocacy events, would react to a legal training seminar. Keller and Heckman’s well-established food, packaging and environmental practices have a long history of hosting these types of seminars, so this is right up our alley. Because the Deeming Rule had just become effective, we knew it was the right time to bring this type of event to the vapor industry to help companies understand how to stay in compliance.

With the success of last year’s Symposium, we decided to take the event “on the road” to Irvine, Calif., to reach a broader audience and make it easier for businesses on the West Coast to attend. With all the changes with the new administration, a new FDA commissioner and new policies that seem to indicate a shift in the agency’s view of these products (we hope), we are covering a lot more material at this year’s event. In addition to our Keller and Heckman experts, we are particularly excited for our guest speakers, several coming from overseas, who will be presenting on topics including good manufacturing practices, state laws, EU and UK laws, and vapor device standards.

Stepping further into that, what are some of the biggest challenges that vapers and business owners need to be aware of this year?

Companies must understand that even though the deadline for premarket applications for products on the market today has been delayed until 2022, the Deeming Rule is still in effect, and there are several fast-approaching deadlines for requirements such as ingredient reporting and HPHC testing that companies need to comply with in the meantime. We are expecting FDA to ramp up enforcement and inspections of facilities, so being prepared for that is critical. We will also be addressing the elephant in the room — Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) — and how companies might be able to work together to save money and submit applications to FDA.

Beyond FDA, more states are passing legislation impacting this industry, including new taxes and licensing requirements. Much of this will be covered at the Symposium. We are also seeing more companies get notices from state environmental regulators regarding how they are storing and disposing of nicotine and other hazardous chemicals. We think that is going to be a big issue in 2018 and moving forward.

Finally, if you’re looking to expand your business beyond the U.S. to the EU or Asia, we are going to have a lot of great presentations on how to do that.

Have there been any wins within the law that you’ve seen for our industry?

There have been a lot of victories at the state level by advocacy organizations such as SFATA, VTA and the Smoke-Free Associations fighting for vaper’s rights. We also had a huge victory last year on behalf of the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition in Indiana, where we got the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the unconstitutional parts of Indiana’s e-liquid law (seehere). The industry should also consider FDA’s extension of the PMTA deadline as a victory that resulted from everyone’s lobbying efforts, as well as the threat from the lawsuits.

One topic we will be discussing at the Symposium is the appeal of the Nicopure and Right to be Smoke-Free challenge to the Deeming Rule, and how companies can still help with that effort.

The symposium schedule is jam packed and really looks like a must-attend event. Can you talk further about the importance of this two-day event?

I do believe this is a must-attend event for businesses who truly are interested in complying with the law and staying around for the long-term. This will also be a great opportunity to network with Keller and Heckman attorneys and other experts, as well as with other businesses. So far, we have over 100 registered attendees that include some of the biggest names in the industry, but also a lot of smaller companies who are looking to do things the right way.

*Seating is limited, but it is still not too late to register! Keller and Heckman is also exploring options for next year’s Symposium, and may take it to the Midwest or back to the East Coast.