Last updated: July 20, 2021
Sale of e-cigarettes
The law allows the sale of e-cigarettes provided that they meet certain criteria, including but not limited to consumer safety, packaging and labeling, and other requirements established under the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act. Some sub-national jurisdictions have more restrictions on sales than the federal level.
Use in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport
Restrictions on e-cigarette use in indoor workplaces and public places generally fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces, territories, and municipalities.
Under federal law, the use of e-cigarettes is prohibited in places where smoking is prohibited because the Non-smokers’ Health Act defines "smoke" to include the use of e-cigarettes. Thus, under the Non-smokers’ Health Regulations, issued pursuant to the Non-smokers’ Health Act, e-cigarette use is prohibited in federally-regulated workplaces, with a few very limited exceptions. The following rooms/areas of a federally-regulated workplace may be designated by an employer as a smoking room/area where e-cigarette use is permitted: a) any living accommodation; b) any motor vehicle, lighthouse, crane cab, caboose, locomotive, or other room or area in the work space (i) that is not incorporated within any other work space, (ii) that does not share a ventilation system with any other work space, and (iii) to which only one person normally has access during a shift; and c) any room on a ship to which only one person normally has access during a shift. Federally-regulated workplaces include a number of public places, including airports, ports, train stations, inter-city bus stations, airplanes, trains, inter-city buses, ships, reception/service areas of federally-regulated businesses (e.g., banks, post office), and federal government buildings, among others.
Advertising and promotion (excluding point of sale product display)
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits the promotion of an e-cigarette or a brand element related to an e-cigarette through advertising appealing to young persons; lifestyle advertising; testimonials or endorsements; or sponsorship (in a manner that is likely to create an association between the brand element or the name and a person, entity, event, activity or permanent facility). The law also prohibits promotion where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the promotion could discourage tobacco cessation or encourage the resumed use of tobacco products.
Additionally, every advertisement of an e-cigarette or a brand element related to an e-cigarette must convey a single health warning from the List of Health Warnings for Vaping Product Advertising.
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits the promotion of a vaping product-related brand element or the name of a vaping product manufacturer in a manner that is likely to create an association between the brand element or the name and a person, entity, event, activity or permanent facility (or promotional material related to a person, entity, event, activity or permanent facility ).
Point of sale product display
The law prohibits the display of e-cigarettes and their packaging at points of sale, including those displayed at an online point of sale, if they are displayed in a manner that would allow them to be seen by young persons. Additionally, regulations prohibit any display of an e-cigarette product-related brand element at a point of sale in a manner that allows the brand element to be seen by young persons. Online points of sale must ensure that the age of the visitor is diligently verified prior to being able to see e-cigarette products and their packaging.
However, there is no prohibition on the display of e-cigarette products, their packaging, or e-cigarette product-related brand elements at points of sale that do not allow youth access.
Health claims in advertising (modified risk claims)
In general, the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits the promotion of e-cigarettes in a manner that could cause a person to believe that health benefits may be derived from the use of the product or from its emissions. The law also prohibits any comparison between the health effects arising from the use of an e-cigarette and health effects arising from the use of a tobacco product.
However, e-cigarettes that make a health claim (i.e., help quit smoking) may be authorized under the Food and Drugs Act and its regulations. These products must receive an authorization from Health Canada before they can be commercially imported, advertised or sold. Before Health Canada issues a market authorization, it conducts a careful review of evidence provided by the product sponsor to confirm that the product meets the requirements for safety, efficacy and quality established by the Food and Drugs Act and its regulations. Because health/modified risk claims can be made for products that have gone through this formal approval process, the regulatory status code “Some Restrictions” is given.
Sale of e-cigarettes via the internet
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits sending or delivering an e-cigarette to a young person (defined as a person under the age of 18). However, the law does not otherwise address the internet sale of e-cigarettes.
At least one province, Quebec, requires the physical presence of the seller and consumer during tobacco product sales which necessarily prohibits internet sales. As a result, the regulatory status code "Some Restrictions" is given.
Flavors (other than tobacco flavor)
Although the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) gives the federal government the authority to take decisions banning the use of certain flavors, at this stage no such national regulations have been made prohibiting specific flavors.
However, the TVPA limits e-cigarette marketing aimed at young persons with a ban on the display of indications or illustrations representing attractive flavors, namely the classes of flavors listed in Schedule 3 of the TVPA (e.g., confectionery, dessert, cannabis, soft drink, energy drink).
At the sub-national level, several provinces/territories have flavor bans in place, while others restrict the sale of most flavored products to adult-only locations.
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits the manufacture and sale of any e-cigarette containing an ingredient set out in column 1 of Schedule 2. Prohibited ingredients include amino acids, caffeine, coloring agents, essential fatty acids, glucuronolactone, probiotics, taurine, vitamins, and mineral nutrients. (Note: this prohibition does not apply to prescription e-liquid or e-liquid manufactured or sold for export.)
Additionally, the law prohibits the promotion of an e-cigarette through indications or illustrations, including on product packaging, that could cause a person to believe that the product contains a prohibited ingredient.
Health warnings on product packaging
The law provides that no manufacturer or retailer shall sell an e-cigarette unless the product and the package containing it display, in the prescribed form and manner, the information required by the regulations about the product and its emissions and about the health hazards and health effects arising from the use of the product and from its emissions.
The Vaping Products Labelling and Packaging Regulations provide that health warnings must appear in both official languages (English and French) and must be positioned to remain legible and unobstructed after the package is opened and through its useful life. Text must be in a standard sans-serif type and be black on white background. Minimum text size for different sizes of display panel is prescribed (for main display panels of less than 45 cm2, minimum height of 2 mm and minimum body size of 6 points; or for larger main display panels, a health warning that occupies at least 35% of the panel). Established health warnings are set out in the List of Health Warnings for Vaping Products, which is published on the government website.
Warnings must be placed on the main display panel of the exterior package. If the e-cigarette device or part is not packaged, warnings must be placed on the main display panel or on a tag. The regulations further specify placement in the case of small packages, kits, and refill products.
Other product packaging and labeling requirements
The law prohibits misleading packaging and labeling of e-cigarettes. It specifically prohibits: any packaging likely to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects or health hazards of the e-cigarette or its emissions; the use of terms, expressions, logos, symbols, or illustrations that are prohibited by regulation; and the use of prescribed terms, expressions, logos, symbols, or illustrations in a manner contrary to the regulations.
The law also requires a nicotine concentration statement to appear on the package of every e-cigarette that contains nicotine. This statement must contain the concentration of nicotine in the e-liquid, expressed in milligrams per milliliter, and must appear on the main display panel or on a tag. In addition, the following toxicity information must be displayed on the display surface of the immediate container of e-liquid with a nicotine concentration of 0.1 mg/mL or more: a hazard symbol and a toxicity warning and first aid statement.
Maximum nicotine concentration
An e-cigarette must not contain nicotine in a concentration of more than 20 mg/mL.
The law requires that every container that is an e-cigarette device or part, as well as every other immediate container that contains e-liquid that has a nicotine concentration of 0.1 mg/mL or more, meet the requirements set out in the law for a child-resistant container.
Manufacturer/importer disclosures and/or notification requirements
The law requires manufacturers to submit required information about vaping products and their emissions to the Minister of Health. It also requires manufacturers to make any required information available to the public and requires the Minister of Health to make disclosed information available to the public. The Vaping Products Reporting Regulations detail the information that is required to be submitted, as well as the form and manner in which it must be submitted.
Attributes or functions appealing to young persons
The law prohibits the promotion and sale of an e-cigarette that has an appearance, shape or other sensory attribute, or a function for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that it could make the product appealing to young persons.
Several provinces restrict the sale of e-cigarettes based on location, such as prohibiting sales in healthcare facilities, post-secondary education facilities, and/or pharmacies.