News / Winnipeg

Change in the air: New vape laws coming down the pipe as Winnipeg mulls patio smoking ban

Leading resource for lung health says Winnipeggers will be able to breathe easier soon and expects possible reduction in chronic lung disease.

In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago.

It’s not just an autumnal chill in the air.

The Manitoba Lung Association is forecasting positive change for Winnipeggers' lungs this fall.

On Broadway, legislative changes restricting the sale of electronic cigarettes or "vape" products are set to take effect Oct. 1. Under the new law, shops will be prohibitied from selling e-cigarettes to minors and users will not be allowed to "vape" wherever smoking is already banned.
 
Meanwhile, on Main Street, the City of Winnipeg is conducting an online survey to see how people feel about adding patios to the list of public places where smoking is forbidden. The survey closes Sept. 26.
 
Neil Johnston, director of health initiatives with the Manitoba Lung Association, said both the new vape laws and potential for patio smoking to be banned together represent a “net-good thing for healthy lungs, healthy breathing, and clean air.”
 
The provincial changes will affect how vape products are displayed, advertised, and where they can be sold. Johnston said each change is positive, but the highest payoff will be ensuring vapes stay out of the hands of minors.
 
“We’ve seen that with tobacco… some young people get access to tobacco products, that’s a reality, but its greatly reduced… we expect the same thing to happen with vape products,” he said.
 
And while city councillors opted to consult stakeholders and the community before becoming the last major city in Canada to ban patio smoking, Johnston feels it’s a forgone conclusion that shoe will drop.
 
“That does two things, among others: it protects people and other patrons from exposure to secondhand smoke… and it also helps with people trying to quit smoking, or prevents young people from being exposed to that smoking behaviour,” he explained. “It feeds into the de-normalization of tobacco smoking as an acceptable behaviour.”
 
“At the end of the day, it will be of benefit to all Manitobans,” Johnston said. “The air will be cleaner and down the road we’ll probably see a reduction in chronic lung disease.”

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