E-cigarette legislation coming this fall

John Brannen
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Stellarton shop owner says attempts by province to put vaping in the same category as tobacco ‘horrible’

As another e-cigarette store in Pictou County opened its doors, the provincial Department of Health continues to look at ways to legislate restrictions on the products. 

Brad Miller stands at his e-cigarette store Kickin’ Ash Vape Shop on Foord Street in Stellarton. 

Brad Miller of Thorburn is the proud owner and operator of Kickin’ Ash Vape Shop on Foord Street in Stellarton. Before that, he was a bartender at the Roseland Cabaret and currently is a delivery driver for Sam’s Pizza in Stellarton.

He said he decided to open a vape shop on Sept. 8, the second such store after The End Vapour Shop in New Glasgow, after switching to e-cigarettes after smoking for 15 years.

“I realized how easy it was and how great it made me feel. I wanted to help other smokers make the switch to a safer alternative to smoking,” he said. “Things are going great so far.”

But all that could change for Pictou County’s e-cigarette stores if legislation planned for this fall is passed.

“We certainly have legislation proposed,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang. “We haven’t decided on a timeline yet, however.”

Strang noted that when the legislation is tabled, the proposal will see the regulation of e-cigarettes just like tobacco products. This means e-cigarettes couldn’t be sold to anyone under the age of 19, would be banned for use in places listed in the Smoke-free Places Act and would see restricted advertising and display.

“They will still be allowed on the market to use as a cessation product but we want to prevent youth uptake and real risk that e-cigarettes could renormalize smoking in general.”

For Miller, the legislation is too cumbersome and doesn’t let individuals and businesses make their own choices.

“I feel it’s horrible that they are trying to put vaping in the same category as tobacco products, but some points they make are good, like sales to someone under the age of 19,” he said. “Most respectable vape shops follow those guidelines already.”

As far as being banned in public places, Miller feels it should come down to each individual establishment making their own decisions.

While Strang noted that e-cigarettes might be beneficial as a cessation aid to quit smoking, he said the research to date shows they have no greater benefit over cessation aids such as a nicotine patch or gum.

“The greater concern is that e-cigarettes would be an inducement for youth to develop a nicotine addiction.”

Strang indicated that there is emerging evidence that the particulate size in the vapour may lead to risk of heart disease.

“It’s safe to say the jury is out on e-cigarettes,” he said. “But this proposed legislation would allow access to purchase them.”

Miller believes that too much emphasis has been put on e-cigarettes as the first step in quitting smoking altogether.

“E-cigs are not an cessation product, it’s a safer alternative to smoking. I would have to say that 90 per cent of the customers are not using it to quit smoking but simply to vape instead of smoke.”

He said that some customers have been vaping for years and do not intend to quit vaping.

“They simply feel better than when they smoked cigarettes.”

Strang noted that, in all likelihood, Nova Scotia would be the first in Canada to adopt laws regarding e-cigarettes.

“These shops can continue to operate as long as they follow the rules,” he said.

Miller, whose shop has been open for a little over a month, said there are a lot of customers happy to have the store in Stellarton.

“When the legislation comes in place, we will adapt to them and make sure our customers are still able to have a safer alternative to smoking, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

The proposed legislation doesn’t call for any additional taxes to e-cig products or juices.

Attempts to reach Health Canada for comment were unsuccessful by press time.

 

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Ash Vape Shop, The End Vapour Shop, Health Canada

Geographic location: Stellarton, Foord Street, New Glasgow Pictou County Nova Scotia Canada

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Recent comments

  • Michael Murphy
    November 01, 2014 - 10:50

    I quit smoking a year and a half ago with my e-cigarette, and I’m not going to stand for the provinces position on e-cigarettes, and the banning of flavored e-liquids. Science doesn’t support Nova Scotia’s contention that e-cigarettes are tobacco products. Numerous reputable studies have concluded, again (a href=”http://publichealth.drexel.edu/~/media/files/publichealth/ms08.pdf) and again (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23033998), that e-cigarettes propel no harmful vapors to others, and very little to the user – especially when compared to environmental toxins like auto exhaust, or cigarette smoke. Vapor is not smoke. Competent health boards around the world realize regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products is a big mistake. Literally millions of lives could be saved through the use of these devices. Nicotine by itself, without the chemicals included in cigarettes, is relatively harmless. It is addictive yes – and so is caffeine. When can we expect the province’s ban on flavored caffeine products? When will the province ban flavored alcohol? When will the province ban flavored nicotine gum? Wouldn’t want to anger the pharmaceutical companies. Reasonable people will accept a tax, and no one wants children to be using e-cigarettes. The unconscionable side of the legislation is in relation to flavorings. It is clear that Dr. Strang knows little about e-cigarettes and cares little about the health of the population. He does exert a great influence to government as chief pharmaceutical industry stooge, however. This bill 60 is a perversion of health policy, and the Liberals should be ashamed they take the financial health of nicotine gum manufacturers above the health of their citizens. I’m not back to cigarettes and Nova Scotia’s actions on this file are an outrage!

  • concerned parent
    October 22, 2014 - 08:49

    I am shocked and disturbed to see the amount of kids especially grade 7 and 8 students who are smoking these. I hope the rules are very strict to target this group of consumers in particular. All of the hard work to reduce smoking rates in children is being quickly erased as the kids don't equate e-cigs with smoking "a real cigarette". I have heard of them being used in school hallways and bathrooms as well as in sports dressing rooms. Adults are smoking them in places that cigarettes have been long-banned and feel it's acceptable. The other day, I walked into the Superstore to see one of the staff working the cell phone counter vaping while behind the desk. I've also walked through Walmart and seen people vaping.

  • Fraser Munro
    October 21, 2014 - 22:59

    Have been to this store many times since opening, I have been vapeing for about 5 months and still have the odd cig,but feel 100 times better and feel I am doing my heart benifit after not being able to quit cigs after a heart attack, way to go government trying to kill me