While the intent of the Ontario provincial government is to improve the overall health and well-being of residents, The Making Healthier Choices Act has unfairly targeted the vaping community and has lumped in e-cigarettes and vaping with cigarette smoking. There is plenty of research that provides clear evidence in the difference between the two.
However, according to the new legislation, this means that vapers will have to adjust to new laws that regulate the selling and use of e-cigarettes. The legislation makes it illegal to:
- Use e-cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas
- Sell e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited
- Display e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes are sold or offered for sale
- Promote e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale.
There is one HUGE issue with the new laws – these anti-vaping laws could be illegal and will likely be challenged in court, according to Derek James, staff lawyer with the Canadian Constitution Foundation in Calgary.
Here is what he had to say about the issue in the Windsor Star:
“Whatever the province’s misguided motivation, this legislation is going to attract constitutional scrutiny as an irrational and arbitrary restriction of Charter 7 rights. Sure, Ontario is permitted to enact public health and safety laws, but those laws cannot violate the rights to life and security of the person in an irrational or arbitrary fashion.”
James references a 2011 Supreme Court of Canada Case to argue is case for the illegality of the new anti-vaping laws:
“In a comparable 2011 case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government must renew a Controlled Drug and Substances Act exemption for the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. The exemption permitted clients to inject illicit drugs under the supervision of medical staff without the risk of arrest. Ignoring the evidence, the federal minister responsible refused to renew the exemption in 2008 and the clinic initiated legal proceedings.
“In that case, the evidence was clear — the clinic successfully reduced harm by saving lives and improving the health of those using its services. No amount of imaginative warping could assail the facts. The court held that failing to renew the exemption violated the Charter.
“Ontario’s treatment of vapers is subject to this same criticism. Vaping is an effective harm reduction tool. It is undeniably less dangerous to life and health than smoking. Ontario’s proposed treatment of e-cigarettes should be abandoned completely.”
This is good news. It will be interesting to see who, if any in the vaping community, challenges the legality of the new laws. We will keep you updated!
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