BC Bill 14, Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2015 was introduced for first reading on March 5th, 2015, by the BC Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terry Lake. Additional information posted by ECTA can be found here.
Email notifications were sent out today to many who participated in the Consultation on regulations which thanked everyone for their feedback (and there was a LOT, it appears) and contained details related to the new regulations.
The Ministry of Health sought feedback in five key areas of the proposed regulation:
- Date of coming into force;
- Minimum age of customers and required identification;
- Restrictions on the promotion, sale and use of vapour products;
- An increase to the size of the buffer zone outside doorways, open windows and air intakes for tobacco and vapour products; and
- The use of vapour products and tobacco on health authority property.
First and foremost, though the new regulations are not what we would have preferred, the results do not appear to be catastrophic. There were changes that were made to the original proposed regulations which facilitate some of our requests.
The document they provided outlines the main scope of the regulatory changes that will come into effect on September 1, 2016. Click here to view that document.
A further summary with some highlighted points
- All restrictions on sale, display, promotion and use applies to E-Liquid (with or without Nicotine) and the devices
- Age restricted sales to only adults over the age of 19
- Signage will be provided by the Ministry of Health. You MUST contact your local regional health authority. There are different signage requirements for “Vaping Products”, “Tobacco Products” and “Vaping and Tobacco Products”.
Limits on Retail Promotion and Display of Products
- If your store allows all ages to enter the store, then you must ensure that the vapour products and any advertisements for vapour products are not visible to minors in your store. This includes any objects like mugs or hats that promote brands or manufacturers of vapour products. Within your store, you can inform customers that you have vapour products for sale, using basic signs with general information such the price range of single use or refillable products. The information must be small black letters that on a white background and the page cannot be larger than a standard letter size page.
- If your store only allows adults to enter the store, then you may have vapour products and their promotions out on display. However, you must ensure that people looking into the store from outside cannot see the vapour products or their advertisements.
NOTE: Blocking out windows and doors should be done with care to prevent municipal zoning issues. Many municipalities have areas set aside for “adult only” shops (i.e.: XXX, strip joints, casinos, sex shops, etc.). Crime rates there can be much higher than other commercial zones.Simply painting your windows and doors black could bring complaints from other commercial businesses on the street as it does impact aesthetics, and economic development of the street. If your municipality sees a problem, they can zone you out and force you to move – along with all other vapor shops in the city.
The new regulations stipulate: ****minors should not be able to view inside the shop from outside****
You can be creative: using colored materials, paper, pull down blinds (fastened and flush with the window / door), colorful and tasteful window paints – any way that blocks out visual access from the outside without compromising the visual effect of your street. There are likely window artists and interior designers around who can help you with ideas or do it for you. Also be certain to check your lease and confirm with the owner of the building/property manager before making any of these changes.
Keep in mind, these regulations could be relaxed or reversed in the future. So while you have to do this for now – it may not be forever.
- You may advertise outside of the premises (i.e. sandwich board, newspaper or billboard) but must follow the requirements set by your local and federal governments.
LIMITED Exception to workplace vaping for Vape Shops
There are exceptions to the workplace vaping regulation for Adult Only (19+), Vape Shops to benefit the customer with the following conditions:
- Retailers/employees can hold and activate vapour products only for the purpose of showing customers how to use the product.
- Retailers/employees cannot inhale or use the vapour product.
- A customer can sample 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 time in a retail store.
- Retailers/employees cannot use vapour products on site.
- Retailers must take steps to ensure the second hand vapour does not escape to adjacent premises or public areas.
No Vaping “Buffer Zones”
There is a no Vaping “Buffer Zone” 6 meters (approx. 20 feet) around all doorways, air intakes and open windows to any substantially enclosed public and work places. This would include stores, offices, and entrances to condominiums/apartment buildings, work vehicles (e.g., delivery vans), public transit, taxis, cafes, casinos and pubs/bars.
- An exception to the Buffer Zone was created where vaping is allowed on an outdoor hospitality patio (e.g., patio of a bar, casino, café) that is within a buffer zone if there are no open windows, doors or active air intakes between the patio and the hospitality venue.
- No Vaping in “substantially enclosed public or workplaces“. This includes places such as offices, malls, cafés, stores and other places in which the public can enter and/or people work, along with the break rooms and bathrooms within these sites. The common areas of hotels, apartments and condominiums, such as the hallways, laundry room or party room are also considered public or workplaces. This would also include any structure with a roof and more than two walls enclosing more than 50% of the nominal wall space for the covering.
- No vaping on any health authority sites except in a designated are on that site.
- Health authority sites “may” designate an area for smoking only, for vaping only or for both but it is not a requirement.
- Patients at a hospital or residential care facility can vape inside the facility only if there is a designated, specially constructed room that meets the standards. Only residents can use the room – visitors and staff cannot.
As stated above, it’s not exactly what we would have liked to have seen or what we believe to be appropriate regulations for what the products, but it’s not the worst we’ve seen (QC Bill 44) nor catastrophic. Vaping in BC will continue…
Regulator Watch also released a video which contained an interview with Canadian Vaping Association regarding the regulations. It seems they agree that it could have been much worse considering where the regulations started.
Please let us know if you have any questions.