Ontario to introduce new electronic cigarette regulations

The Ontario government has proposed introducing stricter regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes, as well as banning the use of e-cigarettes and medical marijuana in public places where smoking tobacco products is already prohibited under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.&nbsp;</p>

This new set of regulations placed on electronic cigarettes and vaporizers provoked a lot of anger and questions among business owners and e-cigarettes users. They claim that these new regulations will hurt smokers that are trying to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes. 

“We have made a determination that smoking whatever it is — whether it’s vaping, medical marijuana, or cigarettes — that there should be restrictions on that,” Premier Kathleen Wynne saidMarch 3. These new regulations are seeking to protect people from second-hand smoke in public places, as well as trying to limit the appeal of e-cigarettes to youth. These new regulations are not the first of their kind. Last January, the province introduced regulations banning the sale of any flavoured tobacco under the E-Cigarettes Act, 2015. 

For David Hammond, associate professor at UW’s School of Public Health and Health Systems, these new regulations are a good step for the province to take since they address the main concerns Ontarians have about these new products. 

Hammond stated that Ontario is trying to create provincial regulations due to the absence of any federal regulations regarding e-cigarettes and vaporizers. 

“I think e-cigarettes need some regulation, and ultimately they will be regulated somewhat differently than cigarettes mainly because they don’t deliver nicotine with smoke and are more likely to be less harmful.”

The rise of e-cigarettes among young people and the accidents and injuries caused by vaporizers have made people worry about how these products are regulated. For example, an Alberta teen was severely injured January 2016 when his electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth. The teen suffered first and second-degree burns as a result of the explosion.

“We need to learn more about the types of products in the market,” Hammond said. 

The current federal regulation concerning e-cigarettes is a bit confusing, as Hammond stated, since most e-cigarettes being sold have no nicotine and they don’t make health claims. 

“If an e-cig has no nicotine or if it makes no health claim, then  those products are approved for sale in Canada. So for the time being, you are allowed to sell them if they don’t have nicotine and don’t make a health claim. So it’s a bit weird and, right now, there is no rule on access for minors, but that is changing. Ontario said that they will bring in a minimum age restriction next year.”

These new regulations would also limit the way these products and flavour liquids are advertised and displayed inside stores. Many users praise e-cigarettes as a helpful aid to quit smoking cigarettes, but the long-term health effects of the fairly new devices are mostly unknown and accidents and injuries have been caused by these devices. 

When it comes to countering the claim of business owners that these new regulations will hurt them and the consumers, Hammond was unsure.

“I don’t know if it will be or not; I think most people worry about if this device will explode in their face or not, and that is not good advertising for the product. We know that these devices are used by smokers, and most smokers want to get off cigarettes, but one barrier to using e-cigarettes is concerned with safety,” he said. 

Hammond also stated that these products, just like any other product in Canada, need to be subject to some sort of regulation and testing. 

“I’m not convinced by the idea that we should have products that contain chemicals in them, that people are inhaling into their lungs, and being sold for that purpose, that they shouldn’t be put to any safety standards.,” Hammond said. “I think most consumers, especially those interested in the product would prefer to have some sort of assurance about basic standards.”