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

Olympic medallist inspires Quesnel swimmers

Hillary Caldwell provides more than just technical tips to impressionable athletes

Exciting year ahead for North Cariboo Trail Development Program

Fifteen km of new trails to be built at Dragon Mountain and Wonderland trails south of Quesnel

High hospital occupancy amidst seniors housing shortage in Quesnel

An in-depth look at housing, health care and community supports for local seniors

Quesnel hosts regional figure skating contest this weekend

257 skaters from across the north central region will skate

Regency Chrysler donates vans to transport provincial curlers in Quesnel

Four donated vans will transport athletes during the BC Men’s and Ladies’ Curling Provincials

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read