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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s the Valley Huskers (left) and the Regina Riot (right) in the final of Football Canada’s online logo contest.
Valley Huskers face Regina Riot in final of Football Canada logo contest

Vote in the online poll to see the scarecrow named the best amateur football logo in the country

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

(File)
Two injured in rollover crash on Seabird Island

One treated for serious, non-life threatening injuries

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
UPDATED: Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. Carlos Monteith, the man charged in the Clayton shooting, was sentenced April 22 on charges related to a different shooting in New West in November, 2019. (File photo)
Man gets 6.5 years in prison for shooting as he awaits trial for separate Cloverdale slaying

Carlos Nathaniel Monteith sentenced for possessing a prohibited weapon and discharging a firearm with intent

Most Read