As of Thursday, “vaping” will be treated the same as “smoking” under the law in British Columbia.
The province is enacting the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act to regulate e-cigarettes.
The devices use cartridges, sometimes containing nicotine-infused liquid, attached to a rechargeable battery.
The long-term health effects aren’t known, but some fear there could be toxins in the liquid used to create the vapour.
READ MORE: Province to regulate e-cigarettes
“Prevalence of e-cigarette use is highest among young people: one in five youth in Canada have tried an e-cigarette,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.
Now they are banned for anyone under 19, and there are restrictions on the location of retail displays and advertising.
You must also be at least six metres away from a building when smoking an e-cigarette.
The province also says any municipal bylaws mandating stricter smoking restrictions will supercede the provincial rules.
It says it plans to work with retailers to implement the new rules, but that repeat violators could face fines of $345 or $575, and continued negligence could land them an administrative hearing, which can result in penalties up to $5,000, and/or suspensions of sales lasting up to 180 days.
Some health experts do tout the device as a harm reduction measure, to wean tobacco smokers off cigarettes.
The Ministry says B.C. continues to have the lowest smoking rate in Canada