Toronto City Council votes to ban e-cigarettes from city property
A smoker puffs on an electronic cigarette in Halifax on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Two weeks after the Toronto medical officer of health recommended a city-wide ban on e-cigarettes, members of Toronto City Council voted to ban the products from city work spaces.
At council's last meeting ahead of the municipal election in October, 36 councillors voted in support of the ban and two voted against.
The approval means City of Toronto employees will not be permitted to use e-cigarettes in municipal work places. Council also requested that the general manager of solid waste management investigate methods of disposal of e-cigarettes.
The Toronto Board of Health recommended the ban after a report was published by Toronto Medical Officer of Health David McKeown earlier this month. The report recommended the province ban use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is currently prohibited under Ontario law. If the province failed to act within six months, McKeown recommended that the city move forward with a Toronto-wide ban.
After reading the report, the Toronto Board of Health recommended prohibition of use of e-cigarettes from City of Toronto workplaces.
TBH brought the motion before City Council, where it was approved as part of a 400-item agenda. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Councilor Josh Matlow casted the only ballots against the move.
Why ban e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that mimic the use, appearance, and taste of conventional cigarettes. When inhaled, a liquid solution is heated and vapourized.
E-cigarettes without nicotine or health-related claims can be imported, advertised and sold across Canada without restrictions.
McKeown said there are possible health risks associated with exposure to second-hand vapour, and the products are often cited as a gateway to traditional smoking for adolescents. The report also noted that overuse of the devices can cause nicotine poisoning, and improper inhalation and handling of their liquid solutions may cause serious injuries.
Other e-cigarette bans
Toronto follows in the footsteps of Red Deer, Alta., where the products were banned in June.
Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine has told local media he hopes to introduce legislation that addresses e-cigarettes in the fall session.
In December, New York City passed a bill banning e-cigarette use in restaurants, bars and clubs, and vaping is banned in public places in Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago.