Ban on Flavored Vaping Sales: A New Report Exposes Deliberate Non-Compliance of Vape Shops Compared to the Rest of the Industry

MONTREAL, May 27, 2024 /CNW/ – The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) today unveiled its first compliance report on the proximity retail industry in Quebec concerning the ban on flavored vaping sales. This report exposes a shocking and deliberate non-compliance by vape shops, whether converted into convenience stores or not, compared to other types of retailers, including major chains that are CICC members and independent stores.

Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) Logo (CNW Group/Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC))

Since the regulation banning flavored sales came into effect on October 31st, CICC member convenience store chains have strictly adhered to this new directive. However, they have recorded significant revenue losses, reaching approximately 40% of vaping product sales. These alarming figures do not indicate a reduction in consumption but rather a shift in demand to other channels.

To inform its members and relevant authorities, the CICC conducted nearly 400 store inspections over the past six months and analyzed internal data as well as public data from the Quebec Ministry of Health (MSSS). This exercise resulted in the following compliance grades by retail network category:

  • Supermarkets & Grocery Stores: A
  • Convenience Store Chains: A
  • Independent Convenience Stores and Tobacco Shops: B
  • Vape Shops: F
  • Overall Compliance: D

The Vice-President of the CICC, Michel Gadbois, expressed his deep concern about an unbalanced and unfair market: “Since Minister Dubé’s total ban on flavors came into effect, the market has been literally plundered by illegal vape shops. These shops are bypassing the law, law-abiding merchants are losing out, and consumers no longer know where to turn. The situation is unacceptable and entirely the responsibility of Quebec,” he stated.

Unfair Competition from Vape Shops

The CICC’s estimates and inspections reveal that out of the 392 identified vape shops, 362 (92%) currently sell flavor enhancers, a practice that entirely contradicts the regulatory objective. This dismal outcome results in an overall ‘F’ grade for the vape shop network, while major convenience store chains, supermarkets, and grocery stores all receive an ‘A’.

For independent convenience stores, about 5 to 10% engage in non-compliant practices by selling illegal flavored vaping products. These violations could be attributed to a lack of awareness of the new strict regulations or a desire to liquidate unsold stock, but this trend is expected to decline.

According to Mr. Gadbois, the responsibility and solutions lie entirely with the government. “It is imperative that Minister Dubé and his department take decisive measures as soon as possible to restore commercial fairness between different retail networks, whether through strengthened enforcement measures or the adoption of new regulations,” he argued.

Earlier this year, the CICC wrote to the Minister of Health to propose concrete and tangible solutions to resolve this issue, including the implementation of new regulations to ensure the compliance of vape shops.

The CICC report titled Compliance Report Card of Vaping Flavor Sale Ban in Quebec is available by clicking on the following link: CCIC Quebec Flavor Report

About the CICC

The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) is a national, not-for-profit council that unites the largest convenience store chains in the country. It represents their interests at all levels of government, provide data and research for informed business decisions, organize networking and development events, and protect the industry’s reputation. The convenience store industry employs 193,056 Canadians (including 51,138 Quebecers), generates $53.7 billion annually (including $14.2 billion in Quebec) in goods and services, and annually contributes $25.6 billion in taxes nationwide (including $6.7 billion in Quebec).

SOURCE Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC)