Health Canada and Fontem Ventures meeting: Vaping products – December 12, 2018
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December 12, 2018
Health Canada (HC)
- James Van Loon
- Director General, Tobacco Control Directorate (TCD)
- Graham O’Brien
- Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, TCD
- Denis Choinière
- Director, Tobacco Products Regulatory Office, TCD
- Saira David
- Director, Labelling and Plain Packaging Office, TCD
- Senior Advisor, Director General’s Office, TCD
- Senior Research Analyst, Office of Research and Surveillance, TCD
Fontem Ventures (FV)
- Alan Hardacre
- Global Head, Corporate Affairs
- Kelly Wood
- Global Compliance Manager
A meeting was held at the request of FV to introduce the Fontem team to HC; provide information around ongoing research activities and science; and share with HC, product information in advance of their launch.
The Chair opened the meeting by doing round table introductions.
The Chair reminded participants that this meeting is subject to disclosure as per HC’s Openness and Transparency policies. In the interest of transparency, the department stated that it would be making a record of the meeting publicly available. The handling of information and privacy notice was mentioned and acknowledged.
FV representatives introduced their company: It was founded in 2012 and has headquarters in the Netherlands, as well as a large operation in North Carolina, United States. Over the last 2 years, FV has acquired Dragonite and several other companies. A full range of products are offered, manufactured in China and the United States. Fontem Canada has headquaters in Markham, Ontario. It is planning to enter the Canadian market in 2019.
1. Fontem Science website:
FV stated that for transparency purposes, its research is posted online, at the Fontem Science website. FV provided examples of ongoing work, including in vitro toxicology studies and flavour research. HC asked FV to share this information. FV indicated that it would provide HC with a list of what is online and what is ongoing.
2. Youth access prevention:
FV provided an overview of its prevention program, which includes targeting advertising to smokers and the presence of a nicotine warning and an 18+ symbol on labelling. Online sales are age verified upon entry using a 3rd party secure system. FV indicated that it would apply the same measures for online sales in Canada.
FV stated that it currently imposes limits on the number of products purchased, with a maximum of 6 kits within one transaction. There are flags if multiple bulk transactions take place within a short time-frame. FV offered to share its code of conduct and marketing standards with HC.
FV stated that it plans to launch a retailer education campaign, including a video, flyers, and materials regarding sales to youth in 2019 and offered to share these with HC. All major retailers in Canada would be targeted.
4. Marketing in Canada:
HC asked FV whether it had a marketing campaign planned for its launch in Canada. FV responded that it has developed a Marketing Standard specific to Canada, which outlines how the company plans to market its products in Canada. The standard, which FV offered to share with HC once finalized, outlines FV’s intention to focus on information and education for smokers.
HC asked if FV planned to make use of social media as part of its marketing strategy. FV responded that while social media influencers are used in the US, social media is not being used in the EU and there are no plans for social media activation in Canada. FV also indicated that while there has been one advertisement on TV in the US in the last 5 years, there are no plans for advertisements on TV in Canada. FV representatives did indicate that they may consider other channels for promoting their products.
5. Regulations for Vaping Products:
FV asked about the status of regulatory proposals for vaping products. FV also inquired whether HC was considering product-specific regulations (e.g. addressing closed vaping systems vs. open vaping systems). HC provided an overview of the authorities to make regulations set out in both the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). HC also provided an overview of the planned regulatory projects, as set out in the publicly available forward regulatory plan.
The meeting was then concluded.
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