While there are no federal regulations regarding vaping in Canada, each province has their own distinct rules that govern all vaping related products. These laws often only directly impact vape shop owners and vape companies, but they can also limit vapers to some degree. Ultimately, while these rules and regulations can be limiting, the vast majority of them are beneficial for the vaping community and help curb youth vaping and promote health over addiction.
Because each province has its own laws governing vaping, we’ll break down some of the basics in this article and not go too in-depth with the legal jargon that may not apply to the average user.
Ontario Vaping Laws
In Ontario, anyone purchasing an e-cigarette or vaping supplies must be 19+. In this regard, vaping is seen in a similar light to tobacco products and it is illegal to sell any vaping related items to anyone under the age of 19. Stores must diligently check the IDs of all customers they believe to be underage, and can only accept proper government ID before selling anyone vaping products. It should also be noted that anyone under the age of 19 is not permitted entrance into a vape shop.
The laws governing vaping in Ontario currently fall under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, which also encompasses where you can and cannot vape. Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, no one can vape in any enclosed workspace, enclosed public spaces, public patios, and anywhere else that is designated as smoke/vape free. If you do vape where you are not allowed, you can be charged with an offence and will be subject to a fine if convicted. It should also be noted that vaping in vape shops is allowed under special licenses but certain conditions must be met:
- Use is for the purpose of sampling a vapour product
- No more than two persons may sample a vapour product at the same time
- Specialty vape stores must provide fresh, one-time use disposable mouthpieces for sampling, unless the electronic cigarette is the personal possession of the person holding it
- The electronic cigarette must not contain cannabis, tobacco, (e.g., Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products), or a controlled substance
Alberta Vaping Laws
Alberta currently has no official regulations regarding the use and sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products, with the exception of a municipal by-laws in Calgary, Cold Lake, Red Deer, and Bonnyville. In terms of safety, Alberta has not restricted where people can vape, but does maintain that users should “beware because they [e-cigarettes] have not been tested.” It should be noted that there are no laws regulating vaping indoors, but doing so is up to the individual establishment’s discretion.
In Calgary, the vaping by-law bans the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers wherever traditional cigarettes are banned. Unlike Ontario, there is an exception made to all stand alone vape shops, meaning anyone in that space can vape freely.
British Columbia Vaping Laws
Passed in March of 2015, vaping in British Columbia now falls under the British Columbia Bill 14, Tobacco control amendment Act. 2015. At its core, this bill focuses on banning e-cigarettes from being used indoors, banning the sale of vaping products to anyone under the age of 19, and restricting the advertising or promotion of e-cigarettes.
Under this law, the following things are either regulated or outright banned:
- Sale and supply to minors (under 19)
- Sales wherever tobacco sales are banned
- Vaping anywhere (inside public and work places) smoking is banned with the exception of vape shops where minors are not allowed to enter; with a maximum of two people sampling a product at the same time
- Vaping in cars with children under 16
- Vaping within six metres of doors, air intakes and open windows
- Any kind of promotion in stores except point of sale showing availability and price, including duty free shops
- All point of sale display except where minors are prohibited, permits vending machines in adult only venues, including duty free shops
- Kindergarten to Grade 12 school sites at all times
- Ban on health authority property unless in designated areas
Manitoba Vaping Laws
Under bill 30, e-cigarettes may only be used in places where smoking is permitted, as well as in vape shops. The bill also stipulates that no one under the age of 18 may purchase e-cigarettes and vaporizers. The bill also allows e-cigarettes to be used in designated rooms in group living facilities and hotels, much like smoking is handled in the province.
Some of the banned elements of vaping include:
- Vaping in indoor public spaces, such as schools, libraries, hospitals, malls, restaurants, and indoor workplaces
- Vapin in cars where kids under 16 are present
- E-cigarette advertising and promotion (in a similar war other tobacco products are handled)
The new law also provides certain exemptions to the law that indicated where vapers can vape:
- In a dedicated vape shop or where e-cigarettes are primarily sold
- In designated smoking areas, such as smoking/vaping rooms in hotels and group living facilities
Nova Scotia Vaping Laws
Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces to implement actual restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes sales and use in Canada. Coming into effect on May 31st, 2015, the Smoke-free Places Act (amended) and Tobacco Access Act (amended) essentially categorizes e-cigarettes on the same level as traditional cigarettes and stipulates that they must be out of view, unless the store does not permit minors inside. The law also restrict point-of-sale promotions, signage outside of a store, and selling e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19.
Under this law, the following are banned:
- Sale and supply to minors
- Possession by minors
- Sale in pharmacies
- Vaping in any venue where smoking is banned
- Vaping on school property, in cars with kids under 19, on restaurant/bar patios, within four metres of doors, windows and air intakes of workplaces
- Requirement to display age restriction signage
- Point-of-sale promotion (Vape shops are exempt but there is a ban on any promotion from outside the shop)
New Brunswick Vaping Laws
On July 1, 2015, New Brunswick amended two acts to encompass e-cigarettes and vaporizers, in an attempt to limit sales to minors and to indicate where these devices can be used. Known as the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act, the law states the following:
- The sale of e-cigarettes and e-juices to people under 19 years of age is not allowed and these products must be hidden from sight
- Smoking supplies (rolling papers, blunt wraps, cigarette tubes and filters, cigarette holders and pipes) cannot be sold to people under 19 years of age or be placed on display
- No one under the age of 19 may enter a vapour shop unless accompanied by an adult
- Most requirements for posting health warning signage have been eliminated
- Outdoor advertisement by tobacconists and vapour shops is not permitted and promotional material inside these shops must not be seen from the outside
- Restrictions on promotional materials that presently apply to tobacco in other retail shops will now also apply to electronic cigarettes and smoking supplies
Later provisions to the act include:
- A ban on sale and supply to minors
- Sales banned wherever tobacco sales are banned
- A ban on use in indoor public spaces and workplaces
- A ban on or in school property, in cars with kids under 16, within three metres of patios, within nine metres of doors, windows and air intakes of workplaces
- A ban on promotion visible from outside retail premises; permits signage showing only availability and price, but vape shops exempted in the inside of their premises only
- Vape shops are allowed point of sale display
Québec Vaping Laws
Starting in 2015, Quebec has placed a number of rules on smoking that also apply to vaping. Some of the regulations include a ban on selling to people under 18, banning various flavours, and heavily restricting where you can and cannot vape.
Underlined in Bill 44, Quebec law states that it is forbidden to:
- Allow e-cigarettes and related accessories to be seen from the outside of a shop. To prevent this, you’ll need to frost your window
- Communicate to consumers inappropriately regarding tobacco products displayed in the shop. This means a seller cannot communicate on the alleged benefits of vaping
- Advertise a vaping product whose sale or distribution is forbidden. In broad terms, ads in newspapers, posters, leaflets, Facebook posts, or on any other social network are not allowed
- Likewise, it is not possible for a vape seller in Quebec to own a website that promotes its products
- Allow clients to test products or flavours. If you run a vape shop, you can’t allow a potential client test any products nor demonstrate how they work. Both owners and clients complain about this but its the law
- Sell or offer products other than those related to e-cigarettes. For instance, owners or shop staff cannot offer food or water to clients, neither for free or at a price
- Offer loyalty cards or any discounts or coupons
- Sell vaping products, to minors, nor allow their presence within the shop. The client or visitor must prove they are over the age of legal majority. If the seller doubts the age of a visitor, they must ask for ID.
Saskatchewan Vaping Laws
There is currently no provincial wide regulations on vaping, meaning there are no laws against vaping indoors, including bars, hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Owners of an establishment still have the right to deny vaping indoors, so it is always best to ask before you vape.
That being said, the city of Saskatoon has implemented municipal legislation that bans vaping anywhere smoking is prohibited. The city has made an exception for vape shops, thereby allowing customers to test flavour and vape in a dedicated vape store.
Newfoundland and Labrador Vaping Laws
Set on June 7, 2016, vaping in Newfoundland and Labrador now falls under Smoke-Free Environment Act, Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act. This law essentially restricts the sale of vaping products to minors and designates where a person can and cannot vape.
Under the law, the following are banned:
- Sale to minors
- Vaping in public places, workplaces, and vehicles with a person under 16
- The sale of vape products where tobacco sales are banned
- Point-of-sale promotion, products and promotional materials cannot be visible inside or outside the shop
- Restrictions on signage in stores
Prince Edward Island Vaping Laws
In Prince Edward Island, vaping is regulated under two laws, the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act and the Amendments to the Smoke Free Places Act. In essence, both these laws dictate who can purchase vaping related products, where a person can vape, and the ways in which stores can market and represent their product.
Looking first at the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales, the following are banned:
- Sale and supply to minors and purchase by minors
- Sale where tobacco sale is banned
- Vaping in indoor public spaces and workplaces
- Vaping in cars with kids under 19, on restaurant/bar patios except between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., within 4.5 metres of doors and air intakes
- Vaping on construction sites
- Point of sale promotion and promotion visible from outside retail premises
- Outdoor signage
- Any advertising that is misleading regarding the characteristics, health effects and health hazards of these devices
The Amendments to the Smoke Free Places Act echoes many of the same rules as the previous laws and stipulates that the following will be banned:
- Use of electronic smoking devices in indoor public spaces and workplaces, except in a designated smoking room in a long-term care facility
- Use in cars with kids under 19
- Use in restaurant/bar patios except between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
- Use on construction sites
- Outdoor designated smoking areas that are within 4.5 metres of doors and air intakes
Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon Vaping Laws
There are currently no municipal or provincial regulations regarding vaping in all of these territories. This means, there are no age restrictions on sales, no bans on where you can and cannot vape, and the advertising stores can use. That being said, the majority of stores will still refuse to sell to someone underage, and the majority of establishments will not allow vaping if they also ban smoking indoors.