Nfld. & Labrador

New e-cigarette laws meant to protect children, says anti-smoking advocate

Anti-smoking groups are applauding the government of Newfoundland and Labrador for its proposed changes to tobacco legislation.
Under the proposed legislation, vape shops like this one will no longer be allowed to let people use e-cigarettes while inside. (CBC)

Anti-smoking groups are applauding the government of Newfoundland and Labrador for its proposed changes to tobacco legislation.

Under the newly-introduced Bill 35, electronic cigarettes would be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco. That means their use will be prohibited in indoor public spaces — including in vapour shops.

Kevin Coady of the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco says the new laws proposed in Bill 35 are meant to protect vulnerable members of society, such as young children, from the dangers of tobacco. (CBC)

Despite concerns from shop owners that the new law will inhibit their ability to properly demonstrate their product, anti-smoking advocates argue that really isn't the case.

"They can still show the product, the difference is they can't have several people in the building at the same time using the product and blowing vapour," said Kevin Coady of the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco.

Flavoured tobacco such as menthol cigarettes will be banned if Bill 35 comes into effect. (CBC)

Coady said e-cigarettes can be a good thing, and have helped many people quit smoking. He said the new law isn't meant to punish smokers or vapour shop owners, but instead is meant to protect the health of children.

"It's all about health, and the fact that children are impressionable. If they see it, they get the impression that everybody is smoking," he said.

"If someone can use the electronic cigarette to get off the real thing, that's wonderful. However, this legislation doesn't stop that. You can still have the electronic cigarette but you can't expect to be using it in schools, at the bingo hall or at the hockey rink."

Hooka lounges, menthol cigarettes 

The new rules also apply to non-tobacco products like shisha, so hookah bars will no longer be permitted to operate in the province. 

The legislation would also ban flavoured tobacco, such as menthol cigarettes. Coady said that aspect of Bill 35 specifically targets potential young smokers.

"In the last youth study, close to 40 per cent of young people smoking were using the menthol, that was their preference," he said.

"Of course that disguises the harshness of the regular tobacco so flavours will attract young people, they will try it and then become addicted."