Is it safe and legal to smoke an e-cigarette with kids in the car?

Great article looking at the legality of vaping in your car with children.

I vape in my truck. Sometimes I have my grandchildren along. Is it safe to vape around them? And will I get a ticket for vaping with kids in the truck? — Donna

At least so far, there’s no solid evidence that the mist from electronic cigarettes is dangerous to bystanders – including kids along with you in the car, says researcher Igor Burstyn.


“If you have a kid in your car and they’re feeling sick, what do you do first? You stop the car, you get out of the car and maybe you stop vaping and see whether the kid feels better,” says Burstyn, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “But to compare it to smoking is utterly ridiculous — it’s like saying that if you have a nerf gun, then you might as well use real bullets because a gun is a gun.”

The Oxford English Dictionary added the word vaping last year – along with sexting, crowdfunding and photobombing. Because electronic cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and don’t emit smoke, when you use them, you vape.

An atomizer heats the juice in the flavour cartridge – water, chemical flavours like Macaron De Paris, Waikiki Watermelon and Oatmeal cookie, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – and turns it into vapour.

Unlike cigarettes which produce smoke the whole time they’re lit, e-cigarettes only produce vapour when inhaled.

So far, Health Canada has not regulated e-cigarettes.

“Health Canada is still hiding under their desks on this one,” says University of Ottawa law professor David Sweanor. “They have no regulations in place – no system of disclosures or approvals.”

Under the Food and Drug Act, any product containing nicotine has to be approved by Health Canada before it can be imported, advertised or sold. Because Health Canada hasn’t approved any e-juice containing nicotine, it’s not allowed to be sold here.

“Nicotine is still available — you can get it over the Internet,” says Scott McDonald, CEO of the B.C. Lung Association.

Illegal to smoke with kids in the car?

In May, Quebec will be the final province to make it illegal to smoke with kids in cars, says Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. Right now, it’s illegal to smoke in cars with kids under 16 in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. In Alberta and the Yukon, that age is 18. In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island it’s 19.

While the dangers of second-hand smoke are well known, one in 10 Canadian kids is still exposed to second-hand smoke in cars on a daily basis, Callard says.

But what about vaping with kids in cars?

Vaping in cars with anyone under the age of 19 is banned in Nova Scotia.

In the last year, Manitoba and Ontario have proposed making it illegal to vape with kids in vehicles. So far, those plans have been delayed.

“In the coming months, we will move to restrict where e-cigarettes can be used,” says Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term care in an e-mail statement. “As always, we welcome continued input from all stakeholders as we work together to help protect Ontario’s youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harms of e-cigarettes.”

What’s in the vapour?

Studies have found e-cigarette vapour increases indoor air pollution.

Others have found carcinogens including formaldehyde. Another recent Harvard study tested 51 brands of e-juice and found diacetyl in 47 of them. That chemical had been found in artificial butter flavouring and caused an irreversible lung disease – “popcorn lung” – in workers.

Until there’s more conclusive research on the safety of second-hand vaping, it’s a good idea not to vape in a vehicle if you have kids with you, says the BC Lung Association.

“With vaping, it’s not really known what the contents are — potentially, people are mixing in it up in their garage or in a basement somewhere in China,” says the Lung Association’s McDonald. “There’s very little disclosure of the vaping liquid and when it is disclosed, it’s usually just a long list of chemically-sounding names.”

The Lung Association believes people should inhale nothing except “fresh, clean air,” McDonald says.

Burstyn, who wrote a 2014 paper looking at whether contaminants in e-cigarette vapour exceeded workplace exposure standards, says “we have a pretty good idea what’s in e-cigarettes.”

“There are patents and there have been thousands of analyses,” he says. “These are all known chemicals – some like formaldehyde have been studied for years.”

The levels in e-cig vapour all meet workplace safety limits, Burstyn says.

“If you’re working in a factory and there are these levels in the air, you would not be worried,” Burstyn says. “You and I are inhaling formaldehyde right now as we speak – it does not mean these levels are harmful.”

There’s no evidence that vaping is “100 per cent safe” and there is evidence that the vapour can cause problems for people with pre-existing health conditions, Burstyn says.

But, it’s replacing smoking, which is a known killer, he says.

“It’s nothing like smoking tobacco – it gives that nicotine hit and flavour without the harm and risk of cigarettes,” he says. “I don’t smoke, I don’t vape – I just look at the numbers and see that it reduces smoking and has no discernible harm to bystanders.”

And, in most Canadian cities, you’re breathing in a lot more than clean, fresh air anyway.

“I don’t think e-cigs are adding very much to the risk caused by air pollution,” he says.

JASON TCHIR Special to The Globe and Mail


Ontario Government to restrict e-cigarette sales

In a surprising fast action by the Ontario government, they are planning on implementing a bill to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes and treat them similarly to tobacco cigarettes.

This law which was introduced today (Monday, November 24th) will ban anyone under the age of 19 from purchasing electronic cigarettes in Ontario.  It will also ban e-cigarette from being used in any area where tobacco cigarettes are already prohibited.

The new addition to the ‘smoke free Ontario’ legislation is trying to add

  • The removal of all flavoured tobacco cigarettes, cigars, etc.
  • The removal of all menthol tobacco products
  • Beefing up enforcement — Increasing fines and penalties to the highest of any province in Canada
  • New legislation of e-cigarettes “We know they appeal to young people because they are cheaper and easily available”
  • “Treat e-cigarettes the same way we treat tobacco cigarettes”
  • Prohibit the sales of e-cigarettes  to anyone under the age of 19
  • Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in places where the use of cigarettes is prohibited.
  • Ban the sale of e-cigarettes in places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited
  • Prohibit the promotion of e-cigarettes in places where tobacco cigarettes are sold.

This is a pretty significant deal for all e-cigarette users.  Please read through all of the amendments specifically regarding e-cigarettes.

Ban the sale of e-cigarettes in places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited

This literally means that only variety stores, gas stations, and places who can legally sell tobacco cigarettes would be able to sell e-cigarettes.  No more small business retail stores anywhere.  No more ordering online anywhere.  No more competition on pricing, creation of unique and custom flavours, etc.  In the same way that the government regulates (and taxes) tobacco cigarettes, expect identical taxing and regulation of e-cigarettes sold in these establishments.

No mention of ‘Nicotine’ vs. “No Nicotine” e-cigarettes

This bill is effectively attacking the actual electronic device called the e-cigarette.  Even marijuana smokers know that the accessories used — Bongs, pipes, etc. are not subject to government scrutiny, yet they are blanketing and lumping all e-cigarettes into the same policy, effectively banning and restricting them all.

Removal of all flavoured e-liquid

By lumping e-cigarettes together with cigarettes, they are now able to effectively ban all flavourd e-liquid.  No more RY4, menthol, cinnamon, apple, peach, etc. e-liquid.  You will be limited to tobacco flavours only.  This is s significant impact on vapers across Ontario, as the majority of ex-smokers who are current vapors prefer non-tobacco flavours.

Severely limiting the paces one can Vape (use an e-cigarette)

By placing e-cigarette together with tobacco cigarettes in the smoke free Ontario act, you will now not be able to vape anywhere where you cannot use a tobacco cigarette.  This includes:

  • Child Care facilities
  • Mother Vehicles driven with anyone under 16
  • Enclosed workplaces — At all times even when not open for business
  • Smoking Shelters — No more then 2 walls and a roof
  • Areas where health care workers are present
  • Hopsitals
  • Common areas of hotels, motels, and inns
  • Multi-unit residences

We know they appeal to young people because they are cheaper and easily available

In my opinion, this is just setting the ‘defense’ statement for the Ontario government, in a shroud to attempt to justify their actions.  The protection of children, who could argue with this?  In their statements, they make absolutely no notice on the benefits e-cigarettes have had, and currently have on current smokers unable to quit, offering an alternative to smoking.  They make no mention of the potential to save MILLIONS OF LIVES as stated by the World Health Organization.  “These products could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century — perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives. The urge to control and suppress them as tobacco products should be resisted,” the experts wrote.”  This is the real reason for e-cigarette development and use.  No one wants non smokers to use e-cigarettes.  No one wants children to use e-cigarettes.  Any regulation specifically toward this would be appreciated by the community, but most of their policy changes go away from ‘protecting children’ towards ‘destroying the rights of Ontario’s vapers’.

Should you like to support the cause of protesting Bill 45, please visit your local Vape shop to sign a petition that will be presented at the next reading of the bill.