Legislation enhanced to regulate e-cigarettes

BRITISH Columbia has introduced amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to regulate e-cigarettes, legislation that will help stop the growing use of e-cigarettes by young people in B.C.

“More and more young people are using e-cigarettes,” said Health Minister Terry Lake on Thursday. “This legislation will limit the exposure to children of the possible dangers of e-cigarette vapour and the potential that e-cigarettes have to normalize smoking behaviour.”

The Tobacco Control Amendment Act amends the Tobacco Control Act to include requirements for retailers to ensure e-cigarettes are sold only to adults aged 19 and above, and to make it possible to create regulations to ensure that no retail displays are targeted to youth and no retail advertising for e-cigarettes is shown where youth can see it.

“The Canadian Paediatric Society welcomes the Government of British Columbia’s regulation of e-cigarettes. This legislation will protect the health of children and youth from the well-established harmful effects of nicotine as well as the toxic by-products of ‘vaping’,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, past president of the Canadian Pediatric Society and chief medical health officer for Island Health. “British Columbia’s leadership on this issue will complement their current tobacco control efforts in providing clean air not only for children and youth but also all residents of the province.”

As well, the amendments will ensure e-cigarettes are not sold in public buildings and their use is banned on public and private school grounds as well as in indoor public spaces and workplaces. These amendments also add prohibitions on tobacco and e-cigarette use on health authority properties; however health authorities will have the ability to set designated smoking areas if they wish. Health authorities continue to provide leadership in promoting the reduction of tobacco use.

The legislation will be introduced this spring, and the exact date it will be brought into force is currently to be determined. Businesses and organizations will need some time to prepare for this legislation and government anticipates announcing the date of implementation soon.

Together, these amendments under the new name ‘Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act’ serve to reinforce a commitment to protecting youth, building a smoke-free British Columbia and add to government’s extensive resources and supports to help British Columbians quit smoking.