On July, Imperial Tobacco posted an ad on its Instagram account, announcing that "ePod Skin Collections are coming soon. Stay tuned! Happy Canada Day!"
Sure enough, later last month the company put on offer 19 different sleeves that can be used to dress up a vaping device. They are pretty spiff, and are sold under evocative descriptors like "maze", "tropico", "relief", and "express". The skins can be ordered from the company' web-site for about $4 each.
When decorative covers were first sold by British American Tobacco for the ePen 3 in the United Kingdom, they were launched as "high fashion pieces" commissioned by clothing designer Henry Holland. His aim was to help consumers incorporate things in their lives that gave them "positivity", "empowerment" and helped them "feel really good about themselves."
Res ipsa loquitur
Linking addictive nicotine to a fashion lifestyle is likely not permitted under Canada's federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (s. 30.2), which may be why there was no similarly splashy launch to sale of these fashion accessories in Canada.
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act says that "30.2 No person shall promote a vaping product, a vaping product-related brand element or a thing that displays a vaping product-related brand element by means of lifestyle advertising."
Health Canada recently finalized regulations to put cigarettes in plain packaging. One of the reasons for doing so was that branded packages functioned as 'mini-billboards', encouraging young people to try smoking.
By the same logic, these fancy-dress sleeves will serve as mini-billboards for vaping products -- a consumer-carried lifestyle advertisements.
Only in Canada, you say? Pity.
The skins are not yet listed for sale in the few other countries where the epod is marketed, eg France, Germany and the United Kingdom.