People can continue to vape in Saskatoon e-cigarette shops despite new legislation that will ban the practice in all other public places where smoking is prohibited.
By Andrea Hill – November 23, 2015
It’s a victory for Vapor Jedi owner Mitch Tarala, who told city councilors on Monday that vapers’ safety would be jeopardized if his staff was banned from using e-cigarettes in-store to show customers how to properly use them.
“Some of the devices don’t work with each other properly if you don’t know what you’re doing,” he said. “If you put the wrong battery in the wrong device, you could have problems.”
He said incidents of exploding e-cigarettes could rise if e-cigarette shop staff were not able to demonstrate safe e-cigarette use to new customers.
The ban on vaping in public places except e-cigarette shops was passed by council on Monday.
As of Jan. 1, vaping will be prohibited in:
- city-owned parks, pools and playgrounds
- city buildings; childcare facilities
- public transit
- private clubs
Exempting e-cigarette shops from this ban runs contrary to a recommendation from Jennifer Miller, vice president of health promotion for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.
She told councilors that second-hand vapor could be hazardous to e-cigarette shop employees and others who share ventilation systems with e-cigarette shops.
“Let’s consider workplace safety and put public health first,” she told councilors.
Council voted 9-1 to exempt e-cigarette shops from the vaping ban. Only Coun. Pat Lorje voted against the exemption.
“I feel very sad that we’re even having to have this conversation,” said Lorje, who described e-cigarettes as “the last gasp of the nicotine industry” to deliver their product to people.
“What we’re now doing is saying, ‘Well, because somebody who’s smart enough to figure out a different vehicle for delivering nicotine into people’s body other than a cigarette, pipe, snuff or cigar, well we’re just going to sit back and do nothing and say meh.’ ”
Council also voted to exempt ceremonial tobacco ceremonies from existing tobacco bans.