october-25-2013-branswell.pdf

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CANADIAN PRESS REPORTER BIZARRELY CLAIMS GOVERNMENT IS ABOVE THE LAWS OF CANADA BREAKING NEWS – October 25, 2013 Helen Branswell (medical reporter for the Canadian Press since 2000) has landed herself and her employer in hot water after a story written by her, containing false information which defames numerous small businesses in Canada, was published without being fact-checked. Refusing to acknowledge the error, the journalist has since put forth a bizarre defense in Twitter – by publicly claiming that the laws of Canada don't apply to government agencies. In her October 7, 2013 article entitled “E-cigarettes could hook new generation on nicotine, medical journal warns” Branswell states the following: “Under Canadian law, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes with nicotine.” Branswell notably fails to reference any Canadian laws in the article. The piece was sold to newspapers and news providers all across Canada (such as CTV News, the Globe and Mail, Global News, the Vancouver Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Mountain View Gazette etc) – essentially telling the public that numerous small businesses in this country which openly sell e-cigarettes with nicotine are being run by criminals, selling an illegal product. The problem? Simple fact-checking reveals it isn't true. As a matter of record, Canadian law does not outlaw the sale, purchase, ownership or use of electronic cigarettes with or without nicotine – it never has. Instead, it regulates the hardware as a consumer product, and the liquid with nicotine as a consumer chemical product. When asked to explain “which law” she was referring to that outlaws e-cigarettes with nicotine, Branswell could not do so – instead quoting an archival Health Canada advisory from nearly five years ago. ADVISORY BACKGROUND Health Canada, under pressure from a number of groups to protect tobacco-tax revenues and the pharmaceutical industry's smoking-cessation products, quietly released the advisory in question in March 2009. But a closer examination reveals the document to be surprisingly deceptive and omissive. It states that e-cigarettes “require market authorization [from Health Canada as medicines] before they can be imported, advertised or sold in Canada.” Further sections in an expanded copy of the same advisory from the same date make clear that they are indeed referring to medicines authorization: “...an electronic smoking product delivering nicotine is regulated as a New Drug...” “...the delivery system within an electronic smoking kit that contains nicotine must meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations.” But according to Canadian law, the advisory is dishonest – because e-cigarettes with nicotine do not meet the legal definition of a medicine. The Food and Drugs Act (and accompanying Food and Drug Regulations) state that a “drug” or “new drug” (i.e. a medicine) must either claim to be a medicine and/or function as a medicine. E-cigarettes with nicotine do neither. Obviously a non-medicine cannot lawfully be required to seek approval as a medicine. More importantly, it is not even lawfully possible for a non-medicine to receive authorization as a medicine. So why did Health Canada lie in its advisory and contradict Canadian law? The answer is simple. Firstly, by claiming e-cigarettes need an authorization that cannot possibly be granted, Health Canada believes it has tied the product up in effective limbo. However this only works on those who have not checked to see what the law really says – and increasingly, e-cigarette businesses in Canada are not being fooled by this sleight-of-hand. Secondly, as a safer consumer alternative to smoking which offers all the pleasure of smoking, but has not been scientifically demonstrated to offer any more risk than typical caffeine consumption (i.e. virtually none), e-cigs present a grave threat to the future profitability of tobacco cigarettes. They also endanger the future profits of


                     





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