Vaping industry challenges e-cigarette law in Quebec

Quebec is just one of several provinces over the past year that has tried to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes

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The Canadian Vaping Association has filed a legal challenge against a Quebec law that limits the use of electronic cigarettes.

Bill 44 prohibits the testing of e-cigarettes in specialty shops, bans in-store display and promotion and forbids online sales of any vape product.

The association describes itself as a national group of advocates, retailers, manufacturers and distributors of the electronic cigarette industry.

The legislation took effect last November, although certain provisions come into force later this year.

Imperial Tobacco has also launched a legal challenge against certain parts of the law and wants a judge to strike them down on constitutional grounds.

The law also bans flavoured tobacco, lighting up on restaurant patios and smoking inside vehicles that have minors.

Quebec is just one of several provinces over the past year that has tried to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes and where they are smoked. Others include Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and B.C.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces that have not banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, according to the Non-Smokers Rights Association. (Alberta leaves the decision to municipalities.)

Last month the head of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, Dr. Mark Brown, calling for legislation in that province around e-cigarettes and a ban on all flavoured tobacco to discourage smoking among youth.

Brown noted that there are no rules governing e-cigarettes in Saskatchewan “so there would be nothing to stop your five-year-old child from walking into a store and purchasing e-cigarettes.”

Brown says recent research out of the Harvard Medical School shows that one of the chemicals used in electronic cigarettes can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn lung.”

That is basically “damaging the lung,” he said.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that do not contain tobacco but can be used to heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating a vapour that users inhale.

Some anti-tobacco advocates argue the devices perpetuate nicotine addiction, may entice teens to take up smoking, and could undermine hard-fought smoking bans.

Others see the devices as a way to help people stop consuming nicotine in a way that endangers their health and the health of those around them.

A report last August by Public Health England found that almost all of 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers.

The report said most of the ex-smokers are using the devices to help them quit smoking, or to prevent them from going back to cigarettes.