Pubdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2016
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Mehreen Shahid,
Page: A1


The province's proposal to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public 
places, including shops that sell the product, will hurt business, 
according to a local vape shop owner.

"You have to educate the customer about maintenance and how to use 
it," Keith Jackson, who co-owns Phoenix Vapers, said of why it is 
important for customers to be able to use the e-cigarettes in the 
store. "It's like your cellphone: When you buy it, they educate you."

Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, the province is looking to expand 
the laws governing e-cigarette and medicinal marijuana use. A public 
consultation paper put out by the office of Dipika Damerla, associate 
minister of health and long-term care, calls for feedback from the 
public on the proposed amendments.

The changes, if approved, would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and 
medicinal marijuana in public, enclosed workplaces and shops that 
sell e-cigarettes, expand the list of places where selling the 
product is banned and establish rules for display and promotion of 

"As of right now, you can't smoke a tobacco cigarette in a movie 
theatre or restaurant and in many public places," said Andrea Stevens 
Lavigne, vice-president of provincial programs with the Ontario Lung 
Association. "Right now, there is a gap in legislation, so anyone 
could use an e-cigarette in all of those places. So, the new proposal 
would be expanded to e-cigarettes. If you're an adult, you would not 
be able to use e-cigarettes in a restaurant or any public places."

Banning their use in public places is fine, said Dan Korf, who helps 
Jackson run the downtown business, "but designated vape shops should 
be exempt from this. We want to show our equipment and have people 
try out the flavours."

The flavours, Stevens Lavigne said, are also part of the problem.

"There are a number of different chemicals in an e-cigarette," she 
said. "A lot of it has to do with flavouring agents and some of them 
lead to lung disease."

Currently, the production of e-cigarette flavours is not regulated by 
any kind of federal legislation, added Stevens Lavigne, so 
manufacturers can put whatever they want into them and "there are a 
number of these flavouring agents (that) are toxins and carcinogens 
in e-cigarettes."

Jackson said, as a business owner, he is trying to do his part by not 
selling e-cigarettes to minors, according to legislation enacted by 
the province earlier this year. "But the government is not looking at 
online shopping. The kids get it all online and that makes us look 
bad," he said.

While some would argue the negative effects of e-cigarettes are fewer 
than those of tobacco, "there are still negative health effects, so 
we don't want to have e-cigarette use being normalized in our 
society," Stevens Lavigne said.

Both Jackson and Korf were longtime smokers and said they were able 
to quit with the help of e-cigarettes.

"Every study I've seen in the U.K. says it's 95% healthier than 
cigarettes," Korf said. "But are they healthy? No. But then again, 
neither is coke."

He said it shouldn't be classified as a cigarette at all.

"Just because it looks like a smoke doesn't mean it's a smoke," he 
said. "There needs to be regulation, but it should be different than tobacco."

As far as the use of medicinal marijuana is concerned, Stevens 
Lavigne said, "Our understanding is that very few people are being 
prescribed medical marijuana and there are alternatives that could be 

However, she noted, if there are changes in federal legislation 
making marijuana more accessible, "then at the provincial level, we 
need to have restrictions in place again to ensure that other people 
are not affected by second-hand smoke and we're not seeing widespread use."

The lung association plans to provide a response in support if the 
additional restrictions on e-cigarette use in public.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom