(Montreal) A group of vaping product shops says that the abolition in three months of the right to market flavors for vapers, as announced on Wednesday by the Quebec government, will lead to the closure of 400 vaping shops in Quebec.

David Lévesque, spokesperson for the Alliance des boutiques de vapotage du Québec, says his industry represents more than $300 million in economic benefits and that the 400 independent shops employ more than 2,200 people.

In unveiling the new regulations on vaping, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, decreed that it provided for the prohibition of flavors other than tobacco for the vaper. However, flavors are the basis of most sales in vaping product shops.

The government’s draft regulations provide for a 45-day consultation period, but shops will have to stop selling flavors in 90 days.

Minister Dubé indicated that young people were the first target of his draft regulations, while a survey cited by his government shows that the proportion of young people who have vaped has quintupled in six years, from 4% in 2013 to 21% in 2019.

On the other hand, the Minister admitted that he expected his decision to lead to contraband, that people may be obtaining vaping flavors through the Internet.

In this regard, the Alliance des boutiques de vapotage du Québec predicts that in a few days, organized crime, websites established in Ontario and indigenous reserves will take over to supply the windfall of new customers.

The Alliance hopes that the Government of Quebec will put in place compromise solutions that would limit access to young people while saving vaping companies.