October 16, 2017

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New regulations put vaping and smoking in same pack

Sales to minors banned, advertising restrictions introduced

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Flamingo vape shop manager Mike C vapes in his shop Wednesday. The Province of Manitoba is banning the sale of vape products to minors, as well as indoor use and use in public settings.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Flamingo vape shop manager Mike C vapes in his shop Wednesday. The Province of Manitoba is banning the sale of vape products to minors, as well as indoor use and use in public settings.

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen got big praise Wednesday from the vaping industry he had just regulated even more strictly.

"Manitoba is the first government to get it right," Marc Kealey, lead public affairs counsel for the Canadian Vaping Association, said from Mississauga. "We worked closely with Manitoba Health."

The vaping industry has no problems having sales to minors banned or having the use of its products outlawed in all the public places where smoking tobacco is banned, he said.

Kealey is pleased the new regulations specifically allows vapour-products shops to be the only places where customers can sample vaping products. The association is working on a curriculum to certify and accredit those who make and those who sell vaping products.

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Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen got big praise Wednesday from the vaping industry he had just regulated even more strictly.

"Manitoba is the first government to get it right," Marc Kealey, lead public affairs counsel for the Canadian Vaping Association, said from Mississauga. "We worked closely with Manitoba Health."

The vaping industry has no problems having sales to minors banned or having the use of its products outlawed in all the public places where smoking tobacco is banned, he said.

Kealey is pleased the new regulations specifically allows vapour-products shops to be the only places where customers can sample vaping products. The association is working on a curriculum to certify and accredit those who make and those who sell vaping products.

In Winnipeg, Mike knows vaping, and Mike is cool with the province's new ban on selling to minors and on vaping anywhere tobacco smoking is banned.

"I think it's fair," Mike said Wednesday. He manages the Flamingo Vape Shop on Main Street, but declined to give his last name.

"That's all that passed?" he asked. "We already don't sell to minors. We ID anyone we think is under 25."

As for vaping in places such as a mall: "I find that rude, just because of common courtesy. No one wants to inhale."

Changes to the Non-Smokers Health Protection Amendment Act (E-Cigarettes) will take effect Oct. 1, including the banning the sale of vaping products to minors, Goertzen said.

"Electronic cigarettes have been growing in popularity over the past number of years, particularly with youth and young adults, but there is little conclusive evidence about the potential harm of long-term e-cigarette use," said Goertzen.

The province will also place restrictions on the display, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and vapour products, Goertzen said.

Adults can still sample products within a vaping shop.

The new legislation is a good start, but not a complete deterrent or solution to vaping's unknown health problems, said Neil Johnston, director of health initiatives and interim CEO and president of the Manitoba Lung Association.

"As a lung association, we hope vaping won't happen, but it's thing we have to live with. Less harmful doesn't mean non-harmful," Johnston said.

Flavoured vapour is intended to help people stop smoking, but some brands and products may contain nicotine, and people can concoct whatever mixture they wish at home, including illegal drugs, Johnston said.

Federal studies show 13 per cent of people 15 to 18 have tried it, yet there's little research into the long-term effects, he said.

"It normalizes smoking behaviour. It's definitely a growing phenomenon," Johnston said. "You need long-term studies."

Johnston expects pushback from big tobacco, which he said is moving into vaping to make up lost revenue from the reduction in smoking.

Not so, said Kealey: "We are in no way, shape or form associated with big tobacco."

NDP health critic Matt Wiebe pointed out that the legislation was introduced when his party was still in power.

"The legislation went through extensive committee hearings and consultations with stakeholders," he said.

Mike conceded fears about the long-term health impact of vaping is a fair point.

"Vaping's only been around seven or eight years. The majority of people who come in to vape, 80 to 90 per cent, they're trying to quit smoking," he said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Nick Martin.

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