After more than a decade in the market, there remains an unfortunate absence of legislation, in Canada and internationally, restricting electronic cigarette sales from minors. This issue is due, in part, to confusion among policy makers on a regulatory category for the product.
To be clear, electronic cigarettes are adult products. They provide no benefit to youth or children. Our society, as a whole, reserves many services and products to adults, not because of inherent danger, rather because use and access requires a level of maturity. Electronic cigarettes are substitutes for tobacco (an adult product), and therefore an “adult” product by their very nature.
The industry, as a whole, has long desired regulation restricting electronic cigarettes to adults. This is a standard for all ECTA members and is carried through internationally by dedicated electronic cigarette stores. Across Canada dedicated retailers voluntarily refuse to sell to minors. Unfortunately, in the absence of legislation or regulation requiring this, there are some general retailers (ie: convenience stores) unaware of the adult nature of the product, who have sold to minors. Simple regulation requiring this would go far in clarifying the issue for the consumer and for the retailer.