The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act will receive royal assent in Canada in the coming days. (Pixabay)

Ottawa ushers in new rules for e-cigarettes

Law will give adults easier access to e-cigarettes and vaping supplies

Adults in Canada will soon have easier access to e-cigarettes and vaping supplies — and be exposed to more ads promoting them — now that the federal Liberal government has passed legislation formally legalizing and regulating the practice.

Once the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act receives royal assent in the coming days, it will prohibit the sale of vape products to minors, ban flavours aimed at young people and prohibit marketing that features testimonials, health claims or “lifestyle” themes.

It also allows the legal manufacture, import and sale of vaping products both with and without nicotine, Health Canada said Wednesday. Other provisions will come into force 180 days after the bill becomes law to give manufacturers and importers time to comply.

Manufacturers that want to market their products with therapeutic claims, such as for smoking cessation, will still require the agency’s blessing before their products can be imported, advertised or sold in Canada.

Some experts cheered the vaping regulations, saying they give legitimacy to something that could prove a boon for smokers who are trying to quit. Others fear the restrictions could keep those very same people from exploring its potential as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes.

Where they agree, however, is that Canada continues to lack sufficient research into vaping and its potential effects.

The law essentially treats vaping like smoking, with similar regulations, said David Sweanor, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics.

It prevents companies that make so-called “non-combustion” products from informing smokers about significantly less hazardous options, Sweanor said, and fails to adequately distinguish between the relative risks of cigarettes, and e-cigarettes and other alternatives.

READ MORE: Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Laurent Marcoux welcomed the legislation for its restrictions on promoting and advertising vape products., but warned its still too soon to embrace it as a potential stop-smoking aid.

“We’re very pleased. We’ve been working on this issue for so many years and it’s a public health issue and we are very glad to see it will not attract young people,” said Marcoux.

“We know some people use it to quit smoking, but it’s not proved yet how it works. We need more research before we recommend it as a good thing. I think we should wait and be more cautious.”

Lesley James, manager of health policy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, said Canada needed a regulatory framework for e-cigarettes because “it’s been the wild west in Canada.”

“We haven’t had any safety standards, and e-cigarettes with nicotine have been illegal, but they have been accessible,” she said, adding that the new legislation allows Canadians to try e-cigarettes as a “quit aid.”

On the other hand, the marketing restrictions are “hugely important” and worth keeping an eye on, since other countries have stricter rules than Canada — and for good reason, James said.

“These products are highly appealing to youth and we want to make sure that Canadian youth aren’t experimenting and taking up e-cigarettes any more than they are right now.”

Big Tobacco, meanwhile, came out staunchly opposed to the legislation’s additional crackdown on cigarette packaging, since it prohibits outright any sort of promotional information and branding, including logos.

Cigarette makers have the right to brand their products, said Eric Gagnon, the director of government relations at Imperial Tobacco Canada.

And while the company supports the vaping regulations, manufacturers and retailers should be able to market directly to their customers, he added.

“One of the challenges we’re facing is that most of the provinces are regulating vaping right now as tobacco … products are hidden from view,” Gagnon said.

“With that mindset it becomes difficult to inform consumers of the benefits of using vaping products.”

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Business Profile: Miller brings nearly 30 years of experience to Golden Home Building Centre

Are you thinking of starting a project around the house, fixing something… Continue reading

Bacchus Books hosts Gerritt Shumyk March 25

A cozy venue, nestled in the heart of downtown Golden, hosts musicians… Continue reading

Isaac Tetrault brings home karate trophy, Golden competitors win medals

Submitted Golden Shotokan Karate travelled to Port Moody on March 9 for… Continue reading

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

B.C. river cleanup crew finds bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Trudeau sells housing plan in visit to hot real estate market in B.C.

Trudeau said the budget contains measures to help first-time buyers

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

The Viking Sky was headed for southern Norway when it had engine problems on Saturday afternoon

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Michael Dunahee’s disappearance remains the largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Kamloops chamber of commerce director let go after controversial Facebook posts

Facebook account had derogatory comments about Muslims, Justin Trudeau

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Most Read