Federal Vaping Regulation is Pending, but for now, we’re all Breathing a Sigh of Relief
All summer the Ottawa vaping community, particularly vape shop owners, have been holding their breath waiting and wondering what will be the outcome of the federal government’s impending regulation of the vaping industry. Without that federal “voice” each province has been taking its own stance on vaping, and the result has been a landscape that’s very uneven, and generally unfair, across the board.
In the National Capital it’s been especially trying as we have two neighbouring provinces with very different rules, and shops that are literally across a river from each other, unable to serve their customers in the same way. Last December Quebec vapers were hit hard as new regulations prevented indoor vaping in establishments that were registered and licensed as vape lounges. Ten kilometers across the way, Ottawa vape shops continue to advertise, allow customers to try before they buy, and have lounge environments complete with board games, big screen TVs and all the sample e-juice your heart desires.
While we’ve all been visited by the bylaw officers in Ontario, and the compliance officers in Quebec, seeing what’s been happening in Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and the other provinces, and then of course seeing the American FDA vape ruling that came into effect on August 8, it has been a challenge to remain positive.
On Wednesday, September 28 Health Canada announced that federal regulations would come into effect in the late fall, and considering where things could have gone, I think I can speak for many in the industry when I say that we all let out a collective sigh of relief. Many of the naysayers predicted that vaping would be outright banned, especially if the feds would look to the Americans for direction. On the other hand many, myself included, tried as best as possible to ignore the speculation, keep our heads down, work hard to educate and inform, and just hope for the best.
In its statement, Health Canada said that the upcoming vaping legislation will “allow adult smokers to use vaping as a quit-smoking aid or as a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco.” Unlike many regulatory bodies it was refreshing to learn that Health Canada acknowledges that there’s inadequate evidence to fully understand the benefits and/or risks of vaping.
The Ottawa vape community will have to wait a short while longer, but it seems as though the federal vaping regulations will be less severe as some anticipated. We also believe that our government does have the health and best interest of its citizens at heart, and not that of the pharmaceutical companies. For that reason, we are confident that the Canadian vaping scene will grow to be stronger, and even better, in the very near future!