Vape industry readies for legal battle

Provincial government announced this week it will legislate so-called electronic or e-cigarettes.

Dave Springman was sitting in his store, Haney Vape, and watching the “action” at the provincial legislature over the internet on Thursday morning.

Springman is not starved for entertainment. Vaping is getting political, and the Maple Ridge business owner is part of a vapers association that is preparing for a legal fight.

The provincial government announced this week that it is going to legislate so-called electronic or e-cigarettes. But a B.C. vaper’s association, made up of businesses and vaping enthusiasts, says smoking and vaping are not the same thing.

“They should not classify vaping in the Tobacco Control Act,” Springman contends. “It is not tobacco, it is not smoking, and it needs to be put into its own category.

“It’s like driving a car or driving an airplane – both are transportation, but they’re not regulated the same.”

The government introduced amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, designed to stop the growing use of e-cigarettes by minors.

“More and more young people are using e-cigarettes,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This legislation will limit the exposure to children of the possible dangers of e-cigarette vapour and the potential that e-cigarettes have to normalize smoking behaviour.”

The amendments will ensure no retail displays target youth, or are available where youth can see it.

“Government wants to protect youth from the unknown effects of e-cigarette vapour and becoming addicted to nicotine, which is why the Tobacco Control Amendment Act will treat e-cigarette use exactly the same as tobacco, with the same prohibitions and restrictions,” said the release.

The Canadian Paediatric Society welcomes the Government of B.C.’s regulation of e-cigarettes. This legislation will protect the health of children and youth from the well-established harmful effects of nicotine, as well as the toxic by-products of vaping,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, past president of the Canadian Pediatric Society.

The new laws will also ban vaping on school grounds, workplaces and indoor public spaces. The legislation will be introduced this spring, with the date that it will be brought into enforcement yet to be determined.

Springman maintains the products he sells not only have no proven adverse effects, but many of his customers report that vaping helps them quit tobacco.

The Canadian Vaping Association’s position is that e-cigarettes are not proven to be 100 per cent safe, but are safer than combustible cigarettes. That group calls for a new consumable product category, and appropriate regulation. It is opposing new e-cigarette regulations before the Ontario legislature.

Springman said a rise in vaping worldwide has hit the tobacco industry hard. He added, governments tax revenue on tobacco products and therefore cannot be trusted to make unbiased decisions regarding e-cigarettes.