The Ontario government’s Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017 (Bill 174) received Royal Assent on Dec. 12, 2017. In January, the Ontario government opened a public consultation on proposed regulations covering Bill 174. However, on April 23, the Liberals announced that the draft regulations would be implemented without any amendments, effective July 1.

The regulations exempt specialty vape shops from some of the more onerous aspects of Bill 174. Under the regulations, specialty vape shops will have to register with their local health board, ensure that at least 85% of the store’s inventory is dedicate to vapour products, restrict access to the store to those who are 19 years of age or older and ensure that they do not sell tobacco products. Stores that meet these requirements will be allowed to display and promote their products and give customers information on how to operate the devices, while other types of stores will be prevented from doing so.

There will be no restrictions placed on e-liquid flavouring, as Bill 174 could have allowed. The regulations also create separate categories for electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices, which are being produced by Big Tobacco companies.

The one aspect of the regulations that The CVA is not pleased with is the prohibition on vaping within specialty vape shops, as it will impose a de facto ban on demonstrating and testing electronic cigarettes, as well as sampling e-liquids in stores. As a result, many smokers will be discouraged from switching to e-cigarettes, which the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K. says is 95% safer for one’s health than smoking. This will have a detrimental effect on public health and harm the many small businesses that sell and manufacture e-cigarettes and related products in Ontario.

The CVA will work with the incoming Progressive Conservative government to try to get the regulation changed.