British Columbia


British Columbia’s Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act came into effect on Sept. 1, 2016.

The CVA initially met with the minister of health’s office when the legislation was originally introduced in March 2015. The B.C. government’s original intention was to regulate the use of vapour products in the same manner as it regulates smoking. The CVA worked to ensure that our members’ opposition to this proposal was heard. As such, we were able to participate in the consultation process and the B.C. government was willing to address many of our concerns.

Key points of the regulations are:

  • The use of e-cigarettes is prohibited in all places where smoking is prohibited;
  • Only adults over the age of 19 can purchase a vapour product;
  • If a store is restricted to adults over 19 years of age, the display and promotion of vapour products is permitted, but vapour products and advertisements for e-cigarettes must not be visible from outside the store;
  • Under the legislation, anyone selling vapour products must post two mandated warning signs at the point of sale;
  • Vapour products cannot be used inside substantially enclosed public places or workplaces, including offices, malls, cafes, stores and other places in which the public can enter and/or where people work, along with any break rooms and bathrooms within these sites;
  • An exception was provided in the regulations to allow customers in adult-only vapour products stores to learn how to use vapour products, or to test products they wish to buy. The exception has the following conditions:
    • retailers and their employees can hold and activate vapour products only for the purpose of showing customers how to use the product; and
    • retailers and their employees cannot inhale or use the vapour product.
  • A customer can sample an e-liquid in the store if:
    • they are testing or sampling products that they intend to purchase and consume off-site; and
    • only two customers may sample vapour products at any one time in a retail store.
  • Retailers and their employees cannot use vapour products on-site; and
  • Retailers must take steps to ensure that second-hand vapour does not escape to adjacent premises or public areas.

To date, British Columbia and Manitoba have taken the most liberal and balanced regulatory approach to vaping of all the Canadian provinces, thanks, in part, to the efforts of The CVA.

While we are pleased that many of our concerns have been addressed by the B.C. government, The CVA strongly believes that regulations pertaining to vaping should be evidence-based. Unfortunately, much of these regulations are not evidence-based and, as such, The CVA remains committed to working on behalf of our members to achieve fair and reasonable regulations for our industry in British Columbia and the rest of Canada.