No cannabis vaping products will be available for sale in Alberta until the provincial government has completed its Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act review, according to a government spokesperson.
READ MORE: Cannabis vape products spark health concerns
Nationally, the sale of cannabis vaping products became legal in many parts of Canada on Monday.
However, doctors on the front lines of an epidemic of vaping-related illnesses in Canada and the U.S. are questioning the decision by Health Canada.
“I’m really surprised that Canada is taking this step with all the data that has come out this year with how dangerous this stuff is,” said Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, a pulmonologist and the head of the Acute Lung Injury Center at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“The results of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act review, in particular to any findings around vaping, will inform government’s next steps in regards to the availability of this type of product,” Jerrica Goodwin, press secretary for Alberta’s finance minister, said in an email to Global News on Wednesday.
The government website says the review was set to begin Nov. 1 and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“The hope is that new amendments to the Tobacco Act will be in place by spring 2020,” the website reads.
Global News has asked for a more specific timeline estimate from the province. Goodwin said she couldn’t provide one at this time.
“The review is to be completed and given to the minister of health in the new year.”
In Alberta, all cannabis products have to be ordered through Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis and AGLC cannot order anything until it receives permission from the provincial government. The federal regulations clear the way for provinces to allow the sale of cannabis vapes.
“With regards to Alberta selling vape products and the legalization of additional cannabis products this fall, we are paying close attention to the Tobacco Act review, in particular, to any findings around vaping to ensure regulations are balanced and protect the health and safety of Albertans,” Heather Holman with AGLC told Global News in an email.
Several cannabis store owners have indicated they believe cannabis vapes will likely be one of the most popular items and are excited to be able to offer them.
At least one owner Global News spoke to wasn’t aware there might be a chance they won’t be allowed to sell them or that there could be a delay in sales pending the outcome of the review in Alberta.
Cannabis vapes have so far been banned by two Canadian provinces. Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have said they will not allow the sale of cannabis vapes, while Nova Scotia will not permit any flavoured cannabis vapes to be sold in that province.