November 24, 2017 7:52 pm

Vaping advocates protest proposed changes to Bill 174 in Peterborough

A protester vapes while holding a protest sign

Steve Guthrie / CHEX News

Member of Vapor Advocates of Ontario demonstrated in front of Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal’s office Friday, protesting against Bill 174, the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act.

Changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act will bring tobacco use and vaping under the same legislation. The Vapor Advocates group says these changes make it illegal to display vaping products or for retailers to offer advice.

Yolanda Aubut says many vapors are smokers trying to get off tobacco and need the information the Bill 174 will outlaw.

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“They look for that new form of harm reduction to transition from smoking to vaping and stores and shops aid a consumer coming in for information on vaping that is really important,” said Aubut.

READ MORE: Philip Morris CEO calls Canada’s response to vaping, e-cigarettes ‘puzzling’

But Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins says the restrictions are meant to apply to convenience stores, where the displays of vaping material would be visible to those under 19 years of age. Hoskins adds negotiations with specialist vaping shops, open only to consumers over 19, could result in the restriction being loosened for them.

“[The legislation makes it] so that there isn’t the advertising, just like with cigarettes, there aren’t the flavoured options available for vaping in those [convenience stores], but in the specialty stores, like cigar shops,” said Hoskins.

READ MORE: Vaping and driving with minors is illegal and poses health risk: NB Lung Association

Bill 174 is currently in the committee stage of study at Queen’s Park.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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