E-cigarette retailer could sell to a '10-year-old', wants regulations

Provincial governments across Canada are placing restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes. So, where does Newfoundland and Labrador stand on the issue?
Bill Shea owns four Vapour XS stores in the province, and plans on opening a fifth. (CBC)

An electronic cigarette retailer in Newfoundland and Labrador wants the industry to be regulated, but not as restricted as his counterparts will soon be in other Canadian provinces.  

Beginning at the end of May, new legislation by the Nova Scotia government will treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes. "Vaping" will be banned from indoor public places or work places, and will only be available to people over the age of 19.

It is also banning the sale of flavoured cigarettes.

Bill Shea, who owns four Vapour XS stores in the metro St. John's area, said regulations should be imposed over the industry.
Bill Shea says there are eight electronic cigarette stores in the St. John's area but there is room for more. (CBC)

"We could actually sell an electronic cigarette with nicotine to a 10-year-old," Shea said. "We choose not to. We choose to follow guidelines that should be regulated. We don't sell to people under 19. We only sell lab-tested e-juice."

Shea wants the e-juice, or the liquid containing nicotine used in the electronic cigarettes, to be tested before its sold.

There are eight smoke vapour shops in the St. John's area, Shea said, with room for more growth.

ACT wants flavoured e-juice axed

Kevin Coady, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for Control of Tobacco, wants all flavoured e-juice banned from sale because it entices young people to pick up the habit. 

"The flavoured tobacco is geared to young people and as long as we continue to get young people smoking, our rates will never go down," Coady said.

Coady said 30 to 35 per cent of young people who use electronic cigarettes have never picked up a real cigarette before. 

Shea, however, is not looking for the provincial government to ban flavoured products because he said it won't necessarily stop children from attempting to get the product.
Kevin Coady is the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of Tobacco. (CBC)

"The additional problem is that even if you sell [e-cigarettes] unflavoured, you can buy food flavourings and people can put their own flavours in an unflavoured juice," Shea said, adding food flavouring is not safe to inhale.

Health Canada's position on the product is for Canadians not to use it until it has been thoroughly tested for safety, quality and efficacy.

Meanwhile, the Newfoundland and Labrador government said it is looking at ways to lower the province's smoking rate, which according to Health Canada, is second highest in the country.

"We are, in fact, considering how our government may move forward with respect to regulating the sale of e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products," said Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development Clyde Jackman, in a statement.

Provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec are also looking at restricting the sale and use of electronic cigarettes. 

With files from Philippe Grenier


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