Quebec tables bill to crack down on e-cigarettes

The Quebec government tabled a bill in the National Assembly Tuesday afternoon, to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes, among other measures.

Bill 44 would see e-cigarettes fall under the same regulations as other tobacco products

Under the new law, e-cigarettes are subject to the same regulations as regular cigarettes. (Radio-Canada)

The Quebec government tabled a bill in the National Assembly Tuesday afternoon to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes, among other measures.

If Bill 44 is adopted, it would be forbidden to smoke e-cigarettes in public places.

"You won't be able to smoke anywhere you smoke a real cigarette. You won't be able to smoke in a restaurant. You'll have to be nine metres from the door...All the laws that are there for regular cigarettes, you're going to have to respect that," said Lucie Charlebois, Quebec's junior minister for public health, who tabled the bill.

Lucie Charlebois, Quebec's junior minister for public health, says Bill 44 is aimed to prevent youth from smoking. (Radio-Canada)
Merchants would also be prohibited from selling e-cigarettes to minors.

The bill also outlines hefty fines for merchants violating the Tobacco Act. Retailers repeatedly caught selling tobacco to minors could be fined $250,000.

Businesses such as restaurants and bars that repeatedly allow customers to smoke on their terrasses could face fines of $100,000.

"I saw my father die of lung cancer, because he was smoking too much. I don't have to explain to you how horrible it was. There are 10,000 people dying every year from cancer from smoking. So we've got to do something," Charlebois said.

The bill also cracks down on second-hand smoke, calling for a ban on smoking inside a vehicle when a minor under the age of 16 is present.

No smoking on terrasses

The current smoking ban in bars or restaurants would also be extended to include terrasses.

In addition, the government says it plans to ban flavoured tobacco, which is generally popular with young smokers.

"What we want to do is prevent youths from starting to smoke...For me, as a grandmother, I do not want to see my grandchildren exposed to that," Charlebois said, adding that consultations will be held to hear from people in the industry before MNAs vote on the bill.


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