The federal government plans to regulate e-cigarettes to make vaping products less accessible to youth.
“The proposed act amends the Tobacco Act to regulate vaping products as a separate class of products,” Health Canada said in a statement on Tuesday.
The aim is to protect youth and non-users from nicotine addiction while allowing adult access to e-cigarettes as a likely less harmful alternative to tobacco, an official told reporters.
The federal Liberals say vaping products like e-cigarettes have been growing in popularity. The government aims to regulate their manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion.
A key part of the legislation introduced in the Senate is to regulate health claims, such as that a vaping product will help smokers quit.
The legislation would cover vaping products with and without nicotine.
Other measures in the proposed legislation include:
- A ban on the sale and promotion of all vaping products to those under age 18.
- Prohibiting the promotion of flavours that appeal to youth, such as candy flavours.
- Creating regulatory authority to display health warnings on vaping devices.
Health Canada said it recognizes vaping could bring public health benefits if it reduces tobacco-related death and disease by helping smokers quit or switch. But it adds there is also potential for public health harm, given evidence of damage from nicotine exposure during adolescence.
Rob Cunningham, a senior policy adviser at the Canadian Cancer Society, said e-cigarettes should be regulated.
“The new federal legislation will deal with areas of federal responsibility, such as advertising and promotion, packaging, the product itself, use in federally regulated workplaces and public places.”
Cunningham said the new federal legislation would complement provincial legislation adopted in eight provinces. Alberta and Saskatchewan lack e-cigarette laws.
The contents of the bill largely follow the recommendations of the federal health committee, he said.
Child-resistant packaging for vaping products is also proposed to protect children from the risk of nicotine poisoning.
The proposed legislation would also implement plain packaging for tobacco products, similar to the law in Australia.
Brand colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages would be restricted.
In May, the department announced three months of public consultations on the move.