Northlands expands no smoking policy to include e-cigarettes

WATCH ABOVE: Northlands is moving forward with changes to its smoking policies. Vinesh Pratap explains.

EDMONTON – One of Edmonton’s biggest organizations is taking a stand when it comes to using e-cigarettes on its properties.

Northlands recently revamped its smoking policies, and is now banning e-cigarette use from all its facilities.

“We were looking at the overall guest experience,” said Jennifer Sheehan, a spokesperson for Northlands. “From a guest perspective, smoke is smoke.”

The group made the decision after communicating with his major tenants.

“As an NHL venue – all of the NHL venues are now prohibiting e-cigarettes, across the board – so, we’re fitting that in at Rexall Place and then doing it across the entire Northlands campus.”

Sheehan explained there’s an education period that comes before implementing any new policy, but that Northlands will now begin enforcing the e-cigarette smoking ban.

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The organization is sending out reminders to visitors on social media.

The change is not enforceable under city bylaw, but Northlands is pressing ahead.

“We abide by the City of Edmonton bylaw where we encourage people to smoke past that five-metre radius outside of our doors. So, e-cigarettes will have to follow those same guidelines,” explained Sheehan.

Anti-smoking advocates say more research needs to be done on e-cigarettes. However, the Canadian Cancer Society applauds Northlands’ decision.

“I think this step is in the right direction,” said Angeline Webb. “I think Northlands is sending a strong message.”

“A lot of progress has been made in tobacco reduction because social acceptability of smoking has been reduced because of smoking bans. So, the use of e-cigarettes indoors has the potential to renormalize that smoking behaviour.

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“We need to role model healthy, public places.”

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But, not everyone supports the move.

“I think it should be left up to the establishment, not a blanket ban on the basis of the unknown… or the fear of.” said Atul Kalia, the owner Lifestyle Cig. Inc., an Edmonton store that sells e-cigarettes.

“Again, it’s understanding what this device is used for. I don’t want to classify it as a tobacco-related product because there is no tobacco.”

“We’re providing a tobacco-free nicotene delivery with removing all those other chemicals.”

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has asked for a study on the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News