OUR Two cents:
The typical responses that have been touted around by our government continues with this legislation. “We don’t know what is in them, therefore let’s ban them” and “they may be a gateway for our youth to start smoking”. Both of these statements have been proven false again and again, yet our government uses them as a method to control a life saving device.
B.C. to restrict use and sale of e-cigarettes and vapes
VICTORIA – B.C. is banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and forbidding their use in buildings across the province, similar to tobacco products.
Health Minister Terry Lake said Thursday the crackdown is intended to prevent young people from being exposed to e-cigarettes, which are increasing in popularity but have unknown long-term health effects.
“Because e-cigarettes are so unregulated we don’t know what’s in them, we don’t know what the potential health effects are for young people particularly,” said Lake. “While adults can make their own choices, we think young people need to be protected from something that the health effects of which are largely unknown.”
The move, outlined in legislation Thursday, essentially bans the use of e-cigarettes in the same way traditional cigarettes and cigars are already prohibited – though people can choose to continue to smoke inside their condos or homes, depending on strata rules.
Using an e-cigarette, called vaping, will be forbidden inside all public buildings, including bars, restaurants, coffee shops, recreation centres, workplaces, hospitals, schools, movie theatres and most other spaces where traditional smoking is banned.
The ban extends to all public and private school grounds. Health authorities can still set aside special e-smoking areas, such as those currently used for cigarettes.
E-cigarette usage in parks will depend on bylaws passed by local municipalities.
Businesses that sell e-cigarettes will also have to use block the display of the products, and any advertising toward youth is forbidden, said Lake.
The new rules should come into effect before the end of the year, said Lake.
They’ll include fines ranging from $58 to $575 for people who use e-cigarettes in banned places, as well as fines of $575 for the sale to minors. Businesses that sell e-cigarettes improperly could also face administrative sanctions up to $5,000, according to the Ministry of Health.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that usually contain nicotine-infused liquid, which is combined with vapour when the user inhales. Some vapour is flavoured.
There’s little known about the long-term health effects of the vapour, said Lake, though e-cigarettes could have a legitimate use to reduce addiction and cut tobacco usage.
However, Lake said he believes more young people are using the devices and so the government is compelled to act to prevent access to what could be a gateway product into smoking regular cigarettes.
Advocates for electronic cigarettes have argued that they are effective smoking cessation devices for people who have unsuccessfully tried conventional treatments such as gum, patches and medication, and that they are a less dangerous alternative to smoking. The few peer-reviewed studies that have been conducted suggest they are about as effective as the patch.
Other provinces, such as Ontario and Nova Scotia, have already moved to restrict sales to minors.
The City of Vancouver banned e-cigarettes in public spaces and the sale to minors last fall. The Vancouver School Board also forbids the devices on school property.
NDP health critic Judy Darcy praised the e-cigarette move, but said the government should have expanded its legislation to ban all flavoured tobacco products.
Lake said he’s confident federal health minsiter Rona Ambrose is moving to develop nationwide regulations on flavoured cigarettes and other products.
Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario are considering or moving towards bans of flavoured tobacco.