Ontario says a new bill aims to improve public health by banning vaping in public places but protesters at a rally outside Queen's Park Saturday say it does just the opposite.

Several hundred people showed up at the protest to help raise attention to the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of tobacco.

Vapor Advocates of Ontario claims that by including e-cigarettes in its existing anti-smoking laws the government is “violating the constitutional rights” of residents who rely on the product as a “smoking cessation strategy” as well as store owners who allow the sampling of e-cigarettes inside their shops.

“We are here today to prevent harm to the Canadian population,” spokesperson David Richmond-Peck told CP24 at the protest. “Tobacco-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the country and it is because the Canadian government makes these products available on every street corner. As opposed to that e-cigarettes have been proven by enormous numbers of public studies to be safer.”

Last May, the province passed legislation which banned the use of e-cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas and placed new restictions on the sale and promotion of the product.

The protesters met at Bay and Bloor streets at 12:30 p.m. and then marched to Queen’s Park for the rally.

The protest comes on the heels of another demonstration by the group in December.