An Update on Bill 45

There has been a lot of discussion, and confusion, about Ontario’s new Electronic Cigarette Act, or Bill 45, which received royal assent in May 2015. The act, which legally treats e-cigs and vapes exactly the same as tobacco products, has been a controversial piece of legislation since its introduction to provincial parliament.

There are many arguments pro- and anti- vaping. David Sweanor, a law professor at University of Ottawa, says, “To say we’re treating [e-cigs] the same as smoking in fact gives smoking an advantage because of the nature of the products but it also misinforms consumers into thinking that these things must be as hazardous as smoking rather than being told the truth — which is that they’re massively less hazardous than smoking.” Sweanor believes Bill 45 is unconstitutional and banning them would be a bad public health move.

In a surprising move, it appears the provincial government is actually listening to the public about our opinions on vaping. On December 18, 2015, the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care released an official statement about the enforcement of the ECA: “Effective January 1st, 2016, the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 19 will be banned… Early in the new year, we will move to restrict where e-cigarettes can be used.”

To make it clear, the ECA, which bans the promotion and display of e-cigs and e-juice, as well as severely restricting their use, is not yet in effect. The bill has been passed but the government claims to be committed to “taking precautionary measures, while also funding research on their potential health effects,” as they “welcome continued input from all stakeholders.”

Bottom line: vape on, and do it proudly. It may not last forever.

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