Electronic cigarettes will more or less get the tobacco treatment in Manitoba.
Effective Oct. 1, e-cigarettes and vapour products may not be used in most enclosed public spaces in the province. The law also bars the sale of these products to minors.
“Electronic cigarettes have been growing in popularity over the past number of years, particularly with youth and young adults. But there is little conclusive evidence about the potential harm of long-term e-cigarette use,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “That’s why we are amending The Non-Smokers Health Protection Act to limit access to youth and place reasonable restrictions on these products while allowing access for adults wishing to use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.”
The new law actually received royal assent in 2015, but officials have spent the interim planning the actual implementation of the regulations.
The law prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces and other places where smoking is prohibited, with exceptions similar to those currently allowed for smoking.
The products may not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. There will also be restrictions on the display, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and vapour products.
“These restrictions are similar to those currently in place for tobacco and tobacco products,” said Goertzen.
Businesses that meet the definition of a vapour product shop in the act will be permitted to continue to allow consumers to test and sample products in-store for the purpose of a sale and use elsewhere.
The explosion of e-cigarettes in recent years created a regulatory grey area for Flin Flon and other Manitoba municipalities.
Some Manitoba businesses banned the use of e-cigarettes on their property. The province’s largest school division, Winnipeg School Division, followed suit.
In a 2014 interview with The Reminder, Flin Flon city councillor Bill Hanson said that in the absence of provincial rules, the city would have to look at whether to regulate e-cigarettes.
No municipal rules were established, however, with the province indicating in 2015 it would introduce legislation for all municipalities to follow.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that often look like traditional cigarettes. They turn chemicals into a vapour that can be inhaled.
– Government of Manitoba news release with files from The Reminder archives