The counterfactual

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RECOMMENDATION 5 That the Government of Canada work with all affected stakeholders to establish a new legislative framework (under the Tobacco Act, new legislation, or other relevant statutes) for regulating electronic cigarettes and related devices and that this new framework require that electronic cigarettes be visually distinct from other tobacco products.

Response 5. This recommendation makes no sense and suffers from very weak justification in the report. It may be that in the initial stages of switching to e-cigarettes, some smokers are self-conscious or wish to appear as they normally do. It is more likely that the appearance of vaping will normalise vaping, than it is likely to normalise a rival product or activity.  If smokers choose products like this they are expressing a preference and the case for denying them that choice is not made in the report, nor is the risk that it will reduce the rate of switching and or that it may have the unintended consequence of protecting the cigarette trade.  The government should not act on this recommendation based on the un-evidenced hunches of public health activists, but only if there is credible evidence that the visual appearance of e-cigarettes does in fact increase smoking.

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