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E-Cigarette’s grey area in Manitoba

Province has no plan to ban e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco on public property .
Province has no plan to ban e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco on public property . Holly Alexandruk / Global News

WINNIPEG-The Winnipeg School Division banned electronic cigarettes during a trustee meeting Monday night. The vote was unanimous.

But that is the only place smoking e-cigarettes is banned.

According to the province, smoking electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, and using flavored tobacco in Manitoba is allowed on public property.

A government spokesperson said Tuesday, “There is currently no clear policy regulating the use of e-cigarettes. The province is relying on Health Canada’s advice and expertise. E-cigarettes that contain nicotine or make a health-related claim are regulated under the federal Food and Drugs Act and require authorization before they are imported, advertised or sold in Canada.

“The province is not currently looking at a ban, but business and other organizations are always welcome to create their own policies on current issues. We plan to work with other provinces to call for clear and consistent national regulation of these products.”

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Manitoba’s Tobacco Reduction Alliance, thinks this new wave of smoking nicotine, is concerning.

“A lot of work was done to de-normalize tobacco use,” MANTRA”s Murray Gibson said Tuesday. “This is a way of normalizing smoking again.”

He believes with the long-term side effects of inhaling chemicals, the only way to help people kick the e-cigarette habit, is to ban the use of these products like the government did for traditional cigarettes.

“They should be banned in public places, where they are currently being used and where smoking bans have been in place,” Gibson said.

Carbonne on St.Mary Avenue, has banned the use of e-cigarettes at their restaurant, saying it’s a distraction to families eating dinner at their restaurant.

“Our policy which we will enforce for the most part is prior to 10:00 p.m. or if there is any dinner service going on are going to ensure that there are no smoking indoors,” Carbonne’s Benjamin Nasberg said Tuesday.

At Fat Panda on Regent Avenue West, business is booming. And while it recognizes the flavored tobacco could be a trend, it thinks it’s a healthier alternative. Customer Michelle McKinnon agrees.

“About 4 months ago, I wanted to quit smoking and nothing worked, and this was an easy alternative,” McKinnon said. “If you don’t smoke, if you have never smoked, then you aren’t going to start just because someone is vaping next to you.”

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