Toronto’s City Council officially signed off on plans Tuesday to require licences for retailers selling vaping products at specialty stores and even gas stations.

Council approved, without debate, a set of recommendations that will require all retailers selling vaping products to apply for a licence from the city starting April 1, 2020.

After April 1, any person in Toronto applying for a licence will be required to provide the address of their business, as well as a criminal background check. 

They will also be required to register under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

The licensing requirement will allow the city to enforce the act by making it easier to track and inspect businesses selling the products, an earlier report from the city’s municipal licensing and standards department said.

“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],” Carleton Grant, the director of the department said in the report, which outlined his recommendations.

“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.”

The approval Tuesday follows a decision by the provincial government last week to ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations. 

Grant 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.

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. in September, followed by severe second case weeks later in Quebec.

In April, a licence holder, who changes their businesses address, must visit the office of the city’s municipal licensing and standards division within 48 hours to let them know.

Existing and new businesses selling e-cigarettes or other vaping products would be required to pay a $645 licence fee, and a $315 annual renewal free.

Toronto will be joining cities like Hamilton and London, which already have bylaws requiring licenses for businesses selling vaping products.