British Columbia Bill 14, Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2015

British Columbia Bill 14, Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2015

### Updated – See highlighted section at the bottom of this post

On March 5th, 2015, the BC Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terry Lake introduced Bill 14, Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2015 for first reading.

The Bill amends the Tobacco Control Act by adding electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and vapor into the act, regulating sales and use of the products in the same way that tobacco is regulated, while recognizing them as separate products in specific regulations. The Health Minister would not accept comments from the public nor from industry prior to the bill passing. ECTA was able to meet with and express concerns about the lack of consultation to the opposition Health Critic ahead of 3rd reading.

Bill 14 received Royal Assent on May 14th, 2015.

The first 3 potential regulations were released in September, with requests for comment by stakeholders on the following:

  1. Date of coming into force [Proposed February 1st, 2016]
  2. Minimum age of customer [Proposed same as the current requirements for tobacco]
  3. Proof of age [Proposed same as the current requirements for tobacco]
  4. Place where vapour products cannot be sold [Proposed same as the current requirements for tobacco]
  5. Prohibitions on display or promotion of vapour products [Proposed same as the current requirements for tobacco]
  6. Retail signage restrictions [Proposed limited promotional signage where youth may enter, unlimited for adult only retail areas so long as it is not visible outside of that area]
  7. Use of vapour products in public spaces and workplaces [Proposed increases the buffer zone for tobacco from three metres to six metres and sets the same buffer zone of six metres for vapour products. The rest is the same as the current requirements for tobacco]
  8. Restrictions on use of tobacco and vapour products on health authority sites [Proposed restricted at sites owned, leased or operated by BC Health Authority entities with an option for designated areas if the facility so chooses]

ECTA submitted a briefing and some supporting documents (Bibliometric Study, BMC Public Health 2014 and Common arguments criticizing electronic cigarettes in terms of use and safety, and science-based response) requesting amendment to some aspects, and additional time for existing businesses, who will now be required to change their business models, store interiors and exteriors to comply with the pending regulations.

If these regulations are not amended, they will come into effect in February 1st, 2016.

### Update – February 12th

A response was received to an update request regarding the implementation date for the regulations.  The Health Minister’s office responded with:

Given the large volume of feedback we have received, we are still currently in the process reviewing submissions. Because of this it was determined that we would not be bringing in regulations on February 1, 2016 (the potential date mentioned in the consultation paper). As we move forward in the process, staff will be able to confirm the implementation date and we expect this to happen soon.

We will keep you posted as we learn more.

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