E-cigarette smokers now have to follow the same rules as regular cigarette smokers, meaning no “vaping” at work, in parks, school grounds or other public places.
B.C.’s amended Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act went into effect Sept. 1, restricting the sale and use of vaporizers to people 19 and older and codifying the rules around their increasing use.
“The biggest change will be not being able to vape in the store,” said Anya Bradbury, manager of EZ-vape, the first vape store in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Like tobacco, the new rules prohibit displays and advertising that would be seen by children, prohibits vaping in vehicles with people under age 16, and limits use in stores to teaching “a small number of customers.”
Bradbury said that means no more than two people can vape at a time in the store and employees are restricted altogether.
Many people work at vape stores because they’re interested in it as a hobby, Bradbury said. Aside from losing that option, Bradbury said they are happy the clear rules are finally in effect.
The amendment also bans the sale of e-cigarettes in public buildings and their use on health authority properties, though health authorities can establish designated smoking and vaping areas at their discretion.
When the store opened in May 2015, then-owner Dallin Brenton said the legislation was on the horizon and they were going out of their way to stick to self-imposed regulations, including not selling to people under age 19.
Vaping is the overall term for e-cigarettes or personal vaporizers, small devices that vaporize flavoured liquids to be inhaled. The liquids come in any flavour someone can dream up and can include different levels of nicotine, originally meant to help smokers wean themselves off tobacco.
Brenton said vaping has become a hobby for a lot of people who get into building their own devices and vape non-nicotine flavours.
A B.C. government news release said the amended 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 act is meant to “stop the growing use of e-cigarettes by young people,” it says, adding e-cigarette use is highest among young people, with one in five Canadian youth trying it.
The government says B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in the country, at 15.3 per cent and still makes reducing tobacco use a priority, investing $51.5 million in their Smoking Cessation Program since 2011, helping 234,000 British Columbians try to quit.
“Quitting smoking greatly reduces serious health risks such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma for British Columbians and their families,” the release concludes.