Health Canada has barred the sale of liquid nicotine, but it’s being openly sold in the unregulated market of e-cigarettes, a CTV News investigation has found.
As e-cigarettes or “vaping” gains popularity in Canada, many sellers and health officials are united in calling for federal regulation.
“We need the proper regulations where we can function on a daily basis,” said Sebastien Roy, of the Canadian Vaping Association, who represents more than 300 e-cigarette retailers.
Some argue those regulations could better control the sale of liquid nicotine.
Dr. Meena Dawar, of Vancouver Coastal Health, says Health Canada’s ban on liquid nicotine has been ineffective.
“Anyone can manufacture it using any ingredients anywhere,” said Dawar.
Melodie Tilson, of the Non-smokers Rights Association, said nobody is tracking where liquid nicotine comes from before it reaches store shelves.
“We know of people that are producing e-liquid with nicotine, which is a poison, in their basements,” said Tilson.
“What kind of standards are they adhering to? It truly is the wild west.”
Last March, a Standing Committee on Health unanimously recommended regulation of e-cigarettes.
Advocates hoped that the committee’s report would be a catalyst for change, but so far there’s been little action from the federal government.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she takes the committee’s report seriously.
“We are just in the midst of looking at what we would do to implement that,” she said.
The committee recommended better safeguards, clear labelling, and strict manufacturing rules.