The Canadian vaping industry launched a new trade association on Thursday, in an effort to unify the sector’s voice amid an outbreak of illnesses related to the technology that is used to inhale products that include nicotine and cannabis extracts.
The Vaping Industry Trade Association (VITA) represents manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, but does not have any cannabis company members, said Daniel David, VITA’s executive director.
Canada’s first regulated cannabis vaporizer products are expected to be in licensed retail stores in December or January, 2020.
Health officials in Canada are investigating confirmed and possible cases of a severe lung illness tied to vaping products amid a larger outbreak in the United States that has been linked to at least seven deaths and sickened more than 500 people.
“VITA has been created to unite the vaping industry on common ground issues. We have learned from past experiences that we are stronger as a sector when we work together and speak with one Canadian voice,” Mr. David said.
The Canadian Vaping Association, which was established in 2014, said on Thursday it wants governments to ban e-liquid vape products from all convenience stores, gas stations and other retail locations that are not age restricted.
For Canada’s legal cannabis industry, which will submit new vaporizer products to Health Canada for the first time as early as mid-October, companies are preparing to meet federal regulations.
“You really have to make sure you do the R&D [research and development] on the process and actually customize your vape pen with viscosity beforehand. In Canada it's going to be very different,” said Everett Knight, executive vice president of strategy and investments with Valens GroWorks Corp., at a conference hosted by Eight Capital and Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP in Toronto on Thursday
“It's a precaution that we're going through the quality assurance with each customer, based on their formulation for each end consumer. It's an issue obviously, but I think with the right precautions you're going to have some great quality vape pens on the marketplace that are safe to use."
Valens is one of Canada’s biggest cannabis extraction companies.
"It is tragic what's going on. It's sad and it's impacting the whole industry because of a couple of bad actors. If the outcome is everybody else is more prudent and more certified, I think that's going be a good outcome," said Martin Landry, chief of Corporate Development and Strategy for Neptune Wellness, also speaking at the conference.
With files from Mark Rendell