Retailers not happy with city’s e-cig rules

Bylaw treats vaping, smoking as the same thing

A local electronic cigarette seller expects some of his customers will not be too happy that vaping is being painted with the same brush as smoking in Red Deer.

Last week, the city released a reminder that using e-cigarettes in public spaces is banned under its Smoke Free Bylaw.

The city is applying the Smoke Free Bylaw because there is no federal or provincial regulation in place. The city intends to advocate for more regulation. E-cigarettes are a tobacco-free alternative to smoking. Users inhale the vapours produced by the battery-powered devices that heat up fluid-filled cartridges.

The practise is called “vaping.”

Ryan Williams, manager of the Vapor Hub shop, said people who are switching over to vaping from regular smoking are doing it to be healthier and to save money.

He said they are not making the switch because they want to be able to smoke everywhere.

“There’s stuff in the media all the time put out by the government to encourage people to quit smoking,” he said. “Now these people have taken a step to stop smoking and they are being painted with the same brush as a smoker.”

There is significant debate about the health and societal benefits of vaping.

Williams, who started vaping about two years ago, said e-cigarettes are smokeless and odourless. He said the stuff that is harmful in second-hand smoke are ingredients such as formaldehyde, cyanide, benzine and carbon monoxide.

He said most people who use e-cigarettes are happy to be able to use them in their vehicles and at their homes. Most people do not use e-cigarettes in places like the mall or the bank because they feel people will be looking at them strangely.

“They aren’t going to start vaping in the McDonald’s play place,” said Williams.

Smoking and vaping are banned in such places as public buildings, workplaces, sidewalk cafes, patios, bars and restaurants. They are also banned within 10 metres of playgrounds, sports fields, water spray parks and skate parks.

Health Canada has advised Canadians not to use e-cigarettes because their safety has not been proven.

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