A recent e-cig accident that left an Alberta teen with serious facial burns has once again raised the issue of how e-cigarettes are regulated.
New regulations came into effect in Ontario on Jan.1 restricting the sale and advertising of e-cigs . With its Making Healthier Choices Act, Ontario became the first province to pass e-cigarette legislation.
Even with this new legislation in place, certain sections of the Electronic Cigarette Act have yet to be passed.
Joanne Woodward Fraser, senior communications adviser at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care was able to provide some clarification on what is currently in effect.
Here is what we learned:
What is the status of the proposed legislation that would regulate what public spaces e-cigarettes can be used in?
“As of January 1, 2016 the Electronic Cigarettes Act (ECA) prohibits the sale or supply of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 19.
This includes not having consumer access to vending machines that sell or dispense electronic cigarettes.
The provisions in the ECA that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in certain places are not yet in force. Following consultations with stakeholders, including the public, the ministry will move to restrict places where e-cigarettes may be used.”
Is it legal for retailers to advertise vaping and vaping supplies?
“The provisions in the Electronic Cigarettes Act that prohibit the display and promotion (e.g. advertising) of e-cigarettes at point of sale, as well as restrictions on where they may be used, are not yet in force. Only a ban on sale or supply of e-cigarettes to minors is in force.
Our government has previously committed to a consultation process for the development of regulations under the Act, including regulations that relate to display and promotion.
These consultations will take place this year.”
What are the requirements for proper retail signage for age restrictions etc.?
All stores selling electronic cigarettes must post in clear view by the cash register an Electronic Cigarette Age Restriction sign and an Electronic Cigarette Identification sign.”
U Can Puff and Vape 360, two downtown Oakville retailers, knew about not selling to minors. However neither had visible signage in place.
U Can Puff store employee Justin asked patrons as they entered to show ID, turning away a group of three young men when they weren’t able to produce proper identification.
The signs were sitting on top of the back counter and had not yet been posted.
At Vape 360,a sign on the window was not up to legislative standard.
As for safety, some devices may not have shut-off mechanisms.
“There is something called a mechanical or unregulated device, which would essentially just draw the power directly from the battery and have no kind of switch in the middle that would tell it to shut off,” said Jackson Dewar of Vape 360.
Dewar sells some these unregulated mechanically modified devices.
“In terms of unregulated mods I don’t sell those to people, we have them, but I will only sell them to people who know what they’re doing and I can tell.”
Dewar says some stores sell unregulated devices without concerning themselves about possible hazards.
“If anything I tell them to give me a run down on battery safety.”
Currently the Ontario government is set to review the Electronic Cigarette Act at some point in 2016, though no date has been set.