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Key Highlights from Breakout Sessions at the Tobacco & Vape Reduction Symposium


The Tobacco & Vape Reduction Symposium, held on October 19th, 2023, at the Delta Dartmouth Hotel, 
convened eighty-nine participants from Nova Scotia and beyond. The event featured presentations in 
the morning, followed by four dynamic breakout sessions in the afternoon.

The following details crucial insights from the breakout sessions, reflecting themes that resonated 
across multiple discussions. We want to thank all our attendees who actively contributed to these 
impactful conversations.

1.  Bold Actions for Impactful Change: To curb the use of commercial tobacco and vape products, we 
must pursue bigger and bolder actions. The Smoke-Free Generations initiative stands out as a 
transformative initiative capable of driving substantial change. Learning from the experiences of other countries and cities that have implemented Smoke- Free Generations, particularly through data analysis, offers valuable insights for possible future implementation in Canada. In the interim, proactive steps should be taken by encouraging a provincial Tobacco End Game, securing commitments to specific targets, and action items for reducing tobacco and vaping rates. Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21, is an important stepping stone towards Smoke- Free Generations, with opportunities to learn from Prince Edward Island’s experience of implementing age 21.

Recommendation: Stakeholder groups should advocate for a minimum age of 21 to purchase tobacco/vape products, provide recommendations for a provincial Tobacco End Game, and encourage the government to commit to reducing tobacco and vaping rates with clear targets and action items.


2.  Addressing Underlying Factors: Efforts to prevent and reduce smoking/vaping must provide robust 
support to tackle the underlying factors contributing to the initiation and persistence of these 
habits. Addressing social determinants of health, including poverty, mental health, and education, 
is imperative. Stress, a leading cause of youth vaping initiation, requires targeted interventions, 
such as enhancing youth coping skills and accessible extracurricular programming.

Recommendation: There should be an increase in investment and capacity in upstream
approaches to address underlying factors impacting smoking and vaping rates.


3.  Tailored Cessation Programs: Recognizing the absence of a one-size-fits-all approach to smoking 
and vaping cessation, there is a need for flexible programs tailored to the unique needs of 
communities and individuals. Designing, implementing, and evaluating cessation programs in 
collaboration with communities, especially those at higher risk, is crucial. Equitable access to 
nicotine replacement therapy (NRTs), including making NRTs free to all Nova Scotians looking to 
quit, should be a priority.

Recommendation: There should be an increased investment in smoking and vaping cessation services, 
offering free nicotine replacement therapy and expanding service options in consultation with 


4.  Unified Advocacy for Legislative Strength: Collaborative and cohesive advocacy is essential to 
strengthen legislation and raise awareness about the increased resources needed to combat 
commercial tobacco and vape product use. De-normalizing the tobacco/vape industry, closing legislative loopholes enabling easy access to flavored vape products for youth, and building capacity for stakeholder mobilization are critical steps.

Recommendation: Build stakeholder capacity to amplify the collective voice for stronger actions 
against the tobacco and vape industry, emphasizing the need to close legislative loopholes and
enhance provincial policy.

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