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No More Public Ecigs in Ontario Unless You’re Vaping Marijuana

Until now, individuals who have made the transition from traditional cigarettes to ecigs have enjoyed being able to vape whenever and wherever they choose, but in Ontario, that freedom is about to be cut short. When 2016 starts, new regulations banning vaping in public buildings will be enforced.

On January 1, 2016, a new law goes into effect that makes it illegal to use e-cigs anywhere that smoking traditional cigarettes is currently banned. However, there is one interesting exception and it has left many ecig fans confused. Ontario will allow vapers to use ecigs for medical marijuana in areas where tobacco is banned.

Dipika Damerla, the Ontario Associate Health Minister, recently announced that it didn’t make sense to ban anyone who has established a need for marijuana from using it whenever and wherever needed, so they should be able to vape, even if they happened to be in a public building.

In a press conference, Damerla said, “The medical marijuana exemption is obviously very limited — it’s for people who have a doctor’s prescription. But it’s equally important to understand that as an employer or a restaurant owner, you can say that there’s no vaping, smoking medical marijuana here.”

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) could not be happier with the decision to exclude medical marijuana from the new electronic cigarette restrictions. The founder of CFAMM, Jonathon Said, hurried to share his elation. “Ontario has taken a huge step forward by exempting medical cannabis patients and their use of vaporizers. Many patients, including myself, choose to vaporize their medicine, and any prohibition on vaporizer use would have severely limited the ability of patients to use their medication as prescribed.”

While supporters of medical marijuana celebrate, others are confused. Why would legislators ban ecigs that only use nicotine but allow ecigs containing marijuana? How is that a smart move for public safety? Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown expressed concern about people hanging around parks where they’ll be exposing young kids to secondhand marijuana smoke, though he did admit that he suspected the amount of people who used medical marijuana in that particular setting would be minimal. He also acknowledged that he understands the difference between using marijuana to get high and using it to treat a medical condition.

Do you think this new law is a fair approach to ecig regulation? Does it make sense to ban ecigs in public, but allow marijuana use?

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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