Statement from the Minister of Health on nicotine replacement therapies


March 20, 2024 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

As Minister of Health, I am incredibly concerned about the growing popularity and recreational use of nicotine replacement therapies, particularly nicotine pouches, among youth. Nicotine is a powerfully addictive substance, and children and teenagers are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of nicotine. Excessive amounts of nicotine can cause overdose or acute poisoning, which can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Nicotine replacement therapies serve an important purpose in helping adults quit smoking, however, we must be clear: these are health products with serious consequences when misused or used by those who do not smoke. Any company that misleads consumers about the purpose of these products, or which markets them toward youth and non-smokers, will face consequences.

It has become clear that gaps and weaknesses exist within the regulation of these products, and to this end, Health Canada is pursuing legislative and regulatory mechanisms in the short term to urgently put in place safeguards to address youth access and appeal, including through restrictions on advertising, flavours and place of sale. These measures will also aim to future-proof against other products emerging in international jurisdictions, such as nicotine toothpicks.

Health Canada has issued a public advisory the importance of only using authorized nicotine pouches as directed for smoking cessation, and to not use nicotine pouches not approved for sale in Canada.

This is a serious, nation-wide issue that cannot be tackled alone. We are working with our provincial and territorial counterparts to explore complementary measures. I commend the positive steps taken in British Columbia and Quebec to reduce youth access by requiring nicotine pouches be sold in pharmacies.

We are also engaging our international partners, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who are observing similar issues with nicotine products, including products we have not yet seen in Canada.

Protecting young people from the harmful effects of nicotine and preventing dependency is a public health priority for the Government of Canada. We are committed to implementing robust measures to protect youth, while maintaining the availability of these products to help adults quit smoking.

The Honourable Mark Holland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health


Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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