Starting Thursday, e-cigarettes will be treated the same as tobacco in B.C.
New regulations mean that vaping will no longer be allowed in workplaces or on parks or beaches. It will also not be allowed in a car when someone under 16 years old is present.
New rules also mean anyone who wants to smoke will have to be six metres away from a building opening.
Recently, the provincial government also banned the sale and advertisement of e-cigarettes to youth as well.
The B.C. Government says the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act is “designed to protect youth from the unknown effects of e-cigarette vapour and from becoming addicted to nicotine, which is why it treats e-cigarette use exactly the same as tobacco, with the same bans and restrictions.”
A vaporizer is defined as an electronic cigarette or other device that contains a power source and heating element that’s designed to heat a substance to produce a vapour to be inhaled through the mouth.
“E-cigarettes have been on the market now since, I think about 2007, and the federal government has yet to take any action,” said Pippa Beck with the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association. “So B.C., along with other jurisdictions in Canada, are moving forward in the vacuum of non-regulation.”
Beck said e-cigarettes can help smokers try and quit smoking tobacco, however, many questions remain about young adults using the product and how it may affect their overall health.
“The weight of evidence is pointing that they are definitely safer than cigarettes,” said Beck. “How much safer remains to be seen.”
The government says progress has been made to reduce smoking in the province and B.C. continues to have the lowest smoking rate in Canada.
Since the B.C. Smoking Cessation Program began in 2011, the province has invested more than $51.5 million into the program and more than 234,000 British Columbians have used the program to try to quit.
-With files from The Canadian Press