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

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

VIDEO: LEGO fundraiser builds playground purse

Inspired families built LEGO creations, helped Silver Creek build playground

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Langley City hits up province for share of pot revenue

The province says it understands municipalities will face extra costs when marijuana is legalized.

B.C. climber remembered for gentle spirit, love of mountains

Marc-André Leclerc had been hearing the call of the mountains since childhood

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

New anti-radicalization centre in the works for B.C.

Centre aims to help ‘vulnerable individuals on the path to radicalization’ before they turn to crime

B.C. bravery, public service honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

UVic basketball coach Kathryn Shields inducted into Order of Canada

Most Read