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

Port Harvey shipyard greenlit

Bylaw 895 has been adopted by RDMW

Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department appoints deputy chief

Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait has appointed 10+ year firefighter veteran… Continue reading

Port McNeill in Focus: Childcare Availability Crisis a Good News/Bad News Story

On average, childcare across the country is unavailable, unaffordable, and the quality varies.

Notice of change of operator for Mount Waddington transit services

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) and BC Transit have received… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read