British Columbia Vaping Law Takes Effect

Canada's westernmost province bans vaping in most public places; includes bizarre restrictions on vape shops

British Colombia Province, Canada

British Columbia vapers are no longer able to vape anywhere that smoking is prohibited. That includes parks, beaches or workplaces. Vaping in a car with a passenger younger than 16 is also banned. And no more than two customers in a vape shop may sample products at the same time.

The Canadian province’s Tobacco and Vapour Control Act went into effect September 1. According to Global News, the BC government claims the act is “designed to protect youth from the unknown effects of e-cigarette vapour and from becoming addicted to nicotine, which is why it treats e-cigarette use exactly the same as tobacco, with the same bans and restrictions.”

The law contains some bizarre restrictions on retailers. Aside from the restriction on the number of customers who may sample products, the law also prohibits employees from vaping at all. If a store allows people under 19 to enter, all products must be hidden from sight. The alternative is to only allow customers 19 or older to enter, and cover the windows so no one outside can see what is in the store.

Just before the law took effect, Mark Tyndall, the executive medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control, wrote an editorial for the Globe and Mail that showed evidence of a fairly progressive point of view regarding vaping.

“It is the right of every smoker to use a product that is safer – up to 95-per-cent safer according to a report from Britain’s Royal College of Physicians,” wrote Tyndall. “While we continue to collect information on the long-term health and social effects of e-cigarettes, it is very clear that the long-term effect of smoking tobacco is chronic illness and death. While this legislation is designed to prevent nicotine and vapour exposure among young people, it is now time to focus on how e-cigarettes can be used to help the people in our communities who will otherwise be dying of smoke inhalation.”

Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.