Bill 45 Passes in Ontario, Canada

Remember how a few weeks ago I went on a rant about how much better Canada’s Health Committee’s recommendations for a vaping regulatory scheme were than most schemes we’ve seen so far? Well, at the time I wrote that article, Bill 45, the “Making Healthier Choices Act,” was already being debated in Ontario. This Tuesday, the bill passed, making Ontario the first region in Canada to put forth a cohesive electronic cigarette policy, and thereby kind of squashing hopes that electronic cigarettes will be regulated in a sensible manner in at least one North American country.

Bill 45 is a sterling example of groundless nanny state overreach, to the point where it kind of feels like a joke how many misguided and unconnected policies a single bill can contain; not only does it stretch tobacco restrictions further by banning flavored (or, as Canadians would say, flavoured) cigarillos, but it also requires that all restaurants list caloric counts, presumably to shame those of us who would like to order the 1500 calorie meal once in a while. This, of course, is in addition to its provisions on electronic cigarettes. So what do those provisions entail? For one thing, Bill 45 will limit the sale of electronic cigarettes to people 19 year of age or older. So far, so good. The bill will also impose a number of limitations on the display and promotion of electronic cigarettes, basically relegating them to the same condition as tobacco products. While this is only a minor inconvenience to experienced vapers, it might prove to be kind of a pain to people looking to quit smoking and currently unaware of their options. Overall, though, it’s still a pretty mild regulation.

By contrast, the limitations Bill 45 imposes on the use of electronic cigarettes are far from mild. Electronic cigarettes will be banned in all enclosed public spaces and enclosed workplaces, meaning that even if your local bartender might let you sneak a puff or even vape openly at the bar, his permission is now totally null and void. Further, Bill 45 also outlaws the use of electronic cigarettes in private vehicles in cases where a person younger than 16 years of age is present in the car, and gives law enforcement officers the right to enforce this law through a fine “less than $250”.

Okay, so given that flavored e-liquids are still permitted in Ontario and vaping hasn’t been banned from all public places, open and enclosed, I guess Bill 45 is not really the end of the world for Ontario vapers. Nonetheless, it’s still frustrating to have these kinds of limitations imposed on you based on nothing whatsoever other than some random persons’ dislike of other people’s totally harmless choices. Sure, it makes some sense to restrict the availability of e-cigs, especially to young people, but to act as though second-hand vaping is anything other than a really, really mild annoyance is totally disingenuous and needlessly restrictive. Let’s not even get into the irony of titling this bill the “Making Healthier Choices Act” without making it clear that it is the state who is making these choices for consumers, rather than consumers themselves.

But yeah, whatever. Happy vaping!

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