Judge upholds Nova Scotia’s vaping restrictions, denies injunction request of vape shop co-owner

William MacEachern, co-owner of the Cloud Factory Vape Shop in Dartmouth, N.S., pictured here on Jan. 25, 2021, is challenging the constitutionality of Nova Scotia's newest restrictions on vaping. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has denied a resident’s application for an injunction against the provincial government’s tough-on-vaping rules.

William MacEachern, co-owner of the Cloud Factory Vape Shop in Dartmouth, alleged that increased taxes on vaping products and devices, a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and vape juice, and a prohibition on sampling such items in stores unduly restricted his access to a critical harm reduction tool.

In his affidavit, MacEachern described himself as a “long-term smoker” who was able to quit the habit thanks to vaping, and felt better within weeks of substituting cigarettes for vaping.

Read more: Dartmouth vape shop co-owner seeks injunction against Nova Scotia’s vaping restrictions

He has challenged the constitutionality of the province’s restrictions, which came into effect between April and September of 2020, on the basis that they violate his right to security of the person, outlined in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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He sought a suspension of the province’s measures until that matter could be decided in court, but on Thursday, a judge ruled that he failed to prove he would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not granted.

The judge also said he did not adequately prove that the public good would be better served by lifting the vaping rules, than by keeping them in place.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia’s regulations on vaping challenged in court' Nova Scotia’s regulations on vaping challenged in court
Nova Scotia’s regulations on vaping challenged in court – Jan 25, 2021

In April 2020, Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to ban the sale of flavoured vape juices and e-cigarettes in an effort to reduce their appeal to youth.

Higher taxes went into effect in September that year, bringing the rate to 50 cents per ml of liquid, and 20 per cent of the retail price of all devices.

Read more: Nova Scotia first to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and juices

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MacEachern’s lawyer, Sarah Emery, argued that high taxes on vaping products make it more attractive — and sometimes cheaper — for nicotine addicts to smoke cigarettes than to vape, and that different flavours were an important motivator for MacEachern to choose vaping over cigarettes.

In submissions, Crown attorney Jack Townsend argued that even with provincial restrictions in place, MacEachern continued to vape and accessing vaping products, and none of the harms outlined by his lawyer had taken place yet.

In a brief statement to Global News, the Canadian Cancer Society said it was “pleased” with the judge’s decision on Thursday.

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