B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says the provincial government will regulate the sale of e-cigarettes if the federal government does not.

Province pledges e-cigarette regulation if feds won’t act

Health minister stresses need for sale restrictions, non-committal on extending smoking bans to 'vaping'

Health Minister Terry Lake says the province is prepared to regulate electronic cigarettes so their sale is governed by the same provincial restrictions as tobacco smoking.

He was responding to a resolution adopted Friday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention urging government action.

The growing trend of “vaping” with e-cigarettes instead of smoking has raised questions over product safety and concerns that years of anti-smoking gains could unravel if nicotine addiction rebounds.

Lake said he’d prefer the federal government regulate the battery-powered vaporizers instead, but added the province will act within a year if Ottawa does not.

The goal, he said, would be to ensure e-cigarettes face most of the same bans or restrictions that apply on regular ones under B.C.’s Tobacco Control Act, particularly the ban on sale of tobacco to minors and the rules on advertising and display.

Lake wouldn’t yet say if the provincial ban on smoking in public buildings and workplaces, or within three metres of their doors and open windows, would also apply to vaping, but he noted cities can also pass their own bylaws to restrict use of e-cigarettes. Provincial law also bans smoking on all school grounds and in vehicles carrying youth under 16.

The City of Vancouver is considering extending its smoking bylaw to e-cigarettes and adding the word “vaporizing” to its no-smoking signs.

Lake is expected to continue to press for a national solution this week at a conference of provincial health ministers and federal officials.

Fraser Health Authority medical health officer Helena Swinkels supports strong regulation by both the province and municipalities.

“I am very concerned about e-cigarettes and their uptake among youth,” she said. “I am concerned whether they actually help people to stop smoking or prolong people’s use.”

The B.C. Healthy Living Alliance argues the use of e-cigarettes to defy public smoking bans undermines a key deterrent to tobacco use.

Swinkels agreed the potential “social renormalization” of the act of smoking is a concern in part because users can vape in places where they’re banned from smoking.

She said the jury is out as to whether e-cigarettes are effective and safe smoking cessation aids, noting they are regulated as consumer products and have not undergone the approval process required for a medication.

“There’s some evidence that people using these may end up smoking more,” Swinkels said. “There’s little oversight of what goes into them and we know some of the ingredients are respiratory irritants.”

Nicotine isn’t authorized for sale in the flavoured “juice” for e-cigs, but it is readily available.

Just Posted

Wildfire update: Fires burning in Fraser Canyon, Highway 7 and Skagit Valley

Several fires in the region are under ‘modified response’ meaning no firefighters are attending

Update: Highway 1 reopened after single-vehicle rollover north of Yale

Single-vehicle crash with three occupants happened at Saddle Rock Tunnel at 10:15 a.m.

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

WATCH: Recruitment set to start for the Molson Coors Brewery at Chilliwack

There were about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and some staff now being sought

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read