Quebec Bill 44, An Act to bolster tobacco control

Quebec Bill 44, An Act to bolster tobacco control

In Quebec, Bill 44, An Act to bolster tobacco control ( PDF EN / FR ) was introduced by the Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection and Public Health, Lucie Charlebois on May 5th 2015.

The Explanatory Notes state:

This bill amends the Tobacco Act to further restricts tobacco use both in enclosed spaces and outdoors. It prohibits smoking in motor vehicles in which a minor under 16 years of age is present and on terraces. It also prohibits smoking within a nine-metre radius from any door leading to enclosed spaces that are open to the public.

The bill extends the scope of the Act by considering electronic cigarettes to be tobacco and sets rules for tobacco use in certain places, in particular by determining standards for outdoor smoking shelters.

Standards applicable to the tobacco trade are tightened by, among other things, prohibiting the retail sale or distribution of tobacco products having a flavour or aroma other than that of tobacco and by prohibiting adults from purchasing tobacco for minors.

In addition, new penal provisions are enacted, the amounts of fines already prescribed by the Act are increased and certain other penal provisions are reinforced by making employers and the directors and officers of legal persons, partnerships and associations more accountable.

Lastly, the bill contains the amending, transitional and final provisions necessary to implement the Act

There were several special consultations and public hearings ( EN / FR ) with the Committee on Health and Social Services ( EN / FR )that occurred in August and September during which a majority of the presenters were in favour of all aspects of the bill, but some wanted them to be even more restrictive.

The Committee completed their Clause-by-clause consideration ( EN / FR ) for the bill and presented their report in November.

Bill 44 received Assent ( EN / FR ) on November 26th, 2015.

In a nutshell, this means:

  1. The definition of “tobacco products” was amended to include the electronic cigarette and all of its components (with or without nicotine).
  2. Vaping is prohibited in the same way as smoking, so no using the device inside (including vape shops) and no vaping in outdoor patios.
  3. Websites advertising and selling E-cigs are prohibited. Radio and TV ads are also prohibited. Print adds can only be done if 85% of readers are 18+.
  4. Shipping Electronic Cigarettes/Tobacco Products to customers in Quebec is prohibited. The political advisor said, even business’s outside Quebec cannot ship products to customers inside Quebec. This is a federal area, however unlike any other province, Quebec can override Federal. That said, they have no ability to enforce this outside Quebec.
  5. Signs and promotions inside vape shops is prohibited except for a single 4 square ft text only sign for pricing and available products.
  6. Outside signs identifying vape shops may not contain the words: cigarettes, electronic cigarette and/or e-liquids. All derivatives from « vaping accessories store » is acceptable.
  7. Sales restricted to 18+
  8. No sale can be under $10.00 and below 10 pieces. So Vendors will not be able to sell something cheap like a single coil or drip tip, nor can they give anything away for free.
  9. Sales/promotions on prices only and not on quantities. Therefore 50% discount for a specific event (Boxing day for example) is acceptable but a 2 for 1 sale on e-liquids is not allowed.
  10. Anyone who smokes/vapes in a place where it is forbidden is now subject to a fine of $250 to $750.
  11. A fine of $680 could be given to the retailer if a customer vapes/smokes inside his establishment in addition to the individual fine that the customer may receive.
  12. Loyalty programs are prohibited for tobacco products.
  13. It is permitted for a specialized electronic cigarette retailer to display their products and their packaging as long as it respects the following conditions:
    • Only sells electronic cigarettes or other devices of this kind, including their components and accessories;
    • Displays the products and their packaging so that they are seen from the interior of the store only;
    • No activity other than the sale of these products.

The Quebec government has effectively equated Electronic Cigarettes, on which Public Health England has published a report as being “around 95% less harmful than smoking” and non-health hazard to bystanders, to deadly tobacco cigarettes. We’ve all heard that water swirls backwards in Australia (Coriolis effect) so maybe science doesn’t not work the same way in Canada as it does in England? Very disappointing to see from the Quebec government.

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