Ford's PC government pauses Liberal laws restricting vaping

Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives have hit pause on a number of measures passed by the previous Liberal government that were intended to tighten the rules around vaping in Ontario.

Updated vaping measures, set to come into effect July 1, now on hold for further study

Vaping advocates are lauding the new government's decision to put a hold on measures that would have placed stiff restrictions on where people can vape and how vaping products can be marketed and sold. (Regis Duvignau /Reuters)

Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives have hit pause on a number of measures passed by the previous Liberal government that were intended to tighten the rules around vaping in Ontario. 

A spokesman for the Progressive Conservatives said this week that the new government, which was sworn in Friday, wants more time to consult and examine the laws before they come into effect.

Simon Jefferies said the government will delay the implementation of new rules around vaping, which would have regulated the activity in much the same way as smoking, beginning on July 1. 

"The government will work with the public, experts, and businesses to re-examine the evidence related to vaping as a smoking cessation tool to ensure that any changes are in the best interests of everyone and protect Ontarians' health and safety," he said in an email.

The laws in question, passed by the Liberals in December, 2017, would have placed rigid restrictions on where people can vape and how e-cigarettes and related products can be marketed and sold in stores. The measures were wrapped into a bigger legislative effort initiated in preparation for the legalization of recreational cannabis. 

Kathleen Wynne's government argued the laws would help prevent children from taking up vaping, which some critics argue can be a "gateway" to smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.

Advocates, however, insist that vaping can be a critical step in helping smokers ultimately kick their habit. While the laws were under consideration last year, vape shop owners and other enthusiasts said they would only serve to restrict access to the products for Ontarians looking to quit smoking.

Maria Papaioannoy-Duic, spokeswoman for the Vapor Advocates of Ontario, lauded Premier Ford and new Health Minister Christine Elliott for the move.

"We're excited that the government ... (has) recognized our efforts and have paused the implementation of these regulations," she said in a statement. "We have the utmost confidence that they are going to look at the regulations based on science and not guesswork."

With files from The Canadian Press