Eliminating flavours won’t eliminate vaping—nothing can.

Will Quebec’s vaping regulations work?

On Oct. 31, Quebec will officially ban flavoured e-cigarettes. After that point, only tobacco and unflavoured vapes will be sold. The move, intended to make nicotine products less appealing to youth and diminish vaping habits, has sparked a debate in Quebec. Is the province justified in their decision, or will the black market fill the demand once people are lacking legal means for their nicotine fix?

The government’s intentions are well-founded, but I do believe that vaping will continue to be an issue, especially amongst youth. Removing flavoured vapes will improve the situation in a superficial sense, but nicotine abuse in general will likely never go away entirely. 

However, the removal of flavoured products is long overdue. While cigarettes have been required to advertise warning labels on their packaging since 2001, the packaging of e-cigarettes could not be more different. Walk into any vape shop and you’ll think it’s a candy store with their rows of brightly coloured boxes and endless list of absurd flavours. The fun fruity flavours can make a smoker forget what they’re actually doing. Being able to discreetly carry it anywhere makes vaping almost too easy, which can create a false sense of security and absent mindedness. Though vapes allegedly pose a lower risk due to the absence of tobacco, the chemicals in these products still have a negative effect on lung tissue. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health reported that vapers are more likely to become tobacco smokers. 

The marketing and accessibility of vapes has undoubtedly led to an increase in nicotine consumption in young people. According to Health Canada, young Canadians aged 15-24 are more likely to vape than those 25 and older. I’m sure most young people can attest to this, whether they themselves vape or whether they have vivid memories of their high school bathrooms being filled with Watermelon Ice or Cotton Candy clouds. 

You won’t stop seeing flavoured vapes just because they’re illegal—they’re too popular. I’m sure nearly everyone knows at least one person with a secret stash and stubborn teenagers will be crossing the border into Ontario just to stock up. It seems that smoking—and now vaping—will inevitably remain mainstream. Various authorities on the issue cited similar perspectives and the CDVQ, a coalition dedicated to vaping rights in Quebec, warned that vapers would either return to tobacco or else obtain vapes through illegal (and therefore unregulated) means. 

As is true in many cases of substance regulation, the government’s intentions may not have their expected effect. Changing the legal age for cannabis consumption to 21 may have had seemingly logical reasons, but it certainly did not prevent youth from sourcing pot illegally. We can hope that the issue of nicotine abuse will improve, but I wouldn’t count on it. 


How did athletes feel about returning to gyms?

We caught up with gym members as Quebec fitness centers close again

On March 26, the perseverance of fitness enthusiasts was finally rewarded when gyms were given the green light to reopen in Quebec red zones. A little over a week later, people were already feeling the physical and mental benefits of training before the province announced gyms would close once more to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants on April 8.

We spoke to Brossard residents Sufyan Mirza and Dean Wu about their personal experiences at fitness institutions before the latest provincial announcement. They discussed the scene in their respective gyms and how their training experience changed since they last set foot in a gym.

The Concordian (TC): What gym do you train at right now? 

Sufyan Mirza (SM): Lately, I’ve been going to Bloc Shop, a bouldering centre in Montreal. I’ve been looking forward to getting back to climbing, but so far I’ve only had the chance to go twice.

Dean Wu (DW): Before gyms closed, I trained at World Gym, which is the newest gym in Brossard. I thought that place would be too busy, so for the last week and a half I’ve been going to my old gym, Buzzfit.

TC: How busy has it been? Is it more or less than you imagined?

SM: In terms of climbing, I don’t feel like much has changed. Bloc Shop has a reservation system where they always control the number of people in there. It feels like everyone is glad that the gym is finally open, and since we want to keep it that way, people have been following the rules with little to no complaints.

DW: It’s been pretty busy, but I honestly expected it to be worse. I think it depends on the gym, so I can only speak for Buzzfit. Before the pandemic, most people moved to World Gym, so the previously popular gyms were way less occupied.

TC: Had health protocols in gyms changed in any way? 

SM: Not much has changed because the previous system worked. Everybody comes in with their masks and sanitizes their hands regularly between sets. People try to keep distanced from each other, but sometimes that gets tricky when it’s really crowded.

DW: In general, protocols are similar to before but they’re stricter. They emphasize checking temperature and scanning cards now more than before. Also, masks are always required even when you are working out, which I’m not sure I agree with. From personal experience, I feel like I’m suffocating with the mask when I’m doing a heavy squat or anything that requires all my strength.

TC: How important has it been for you to have gyms back open? 

SM: Climbing has been my way of escaping from the buildup of stress from COVID-19, quarantine, schoolwork, and family drama. Obviously, I want to get back in shape and regrow my finger strength that I lost from the time off, but more than anything I just appreciate being there now more than I did before. I know there are still health risks involved, but I still plan on going regularly because it’s been essential for my mental sanity.

DW: I’m enjoying it a lot. I missed it more than I realized, and it makes me feel more energetic, and time passes faster. Before the pandemic, I used to pretty much just work and workout. Now, at least half of it is back.




Photo by Kit Mergaert

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