After public consultations wrapped up last month, city officials are pushing forward with plans to enforce licenses for retailers selling vaping products.

The general government and licensing committee officially signed off Monday on a set of recommendations that would require vaping retailers to buy a license from the city.

The committee is now waiting on approval from city council. The decision is expected to be made by the end of the month.

“There have been growing concerns about youth access to vapour products,” said Carleton Grant, the director of the city's municipal licensing and standards department, in a report outlining his recommendations.

“While vapour products … are less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes, they are not without risk.”

Vaping has been an issue of concern recently following a series of deaths and hospitalizations in the United States due to vaping-related causes. 

The first Canadian case of a vaping-related illness was confirmed in London, Ont. last month, followed by severe second case weeks later in Quebec.

The committee’s report said that a licensing requirement will allow the city to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which regulates vapour product use and sales in Ontario.

“There is currently no reliable system in place for Toronto Public Health staff to accurately track and inspect all vapour product retailers their compliance with [the act],” Grant said in the report.

“A new licensing category for vapour product retailers will assist Toronto Public Health in their enforcement … by enabling adequate City oversight of the number and location of retailers.”

He called the presence of vaping products in Toronto “widespread,” and said there are currently over 1,400 known retailers in the city, including 78 specialty vapour retailers.

If the recommendations are made into a bylaw, existing and new businesses selling e-cigarettes or other vaping products would be required to pay a $645 license fee, and a $315 annual renewal free.

Hamilton and London already have bylaws requiring businesses selling vaping products to obtain licenses, the report said.

The committee is asking for the changes to come into force on April 1, 2020.