Vapour products and other electronic cigarettes may cause health risks to users through exposure to vapour/aerosols. Even if you do not use the products, you can be exposed through inhaling the vapours from other people using the products. While legal for sale in B.C. to anyone over the age of 19, vapour products and other electronic cigarettes are not harmless. Children, youth and non-smokers should not use them, and they should not be used during pregnancy.
Vaping Related Illness
A growing number of people in North America have developed a severe form of lung distress from vaping. This condition has resulted in several deaths and a large number of hospitalizations.
See BC Vaping Information to learn more
If you smoke or vape, remember to maintain a safe physical distance. Stay at least two metres (six feet) apart if smoking or vaping in a group. Smoke or vape outside instead of inside. To learn more about vaping and reducing the spread of COVID-19 see:
What is vaping?
Vaping is inhaling aerosol or vapour produced by using devices like electronic cigarettes. These devices heat liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales into the mouth and lungs, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. There are different kinds of vaping devices such as e-cigarettes, vape pens, vapes, mods, tanks or e-hookahs. As per Health Canada, “vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are the main liquids in vaping products. These are considered safe for use in many consumer products such as cosmetics and sweeteners. However, the long-term safety of inhaling the substances in vaping products is unknown and continues to be assessed.”
For more information on vaping in Canada visit:
- About vaping, Health Canada
- BC Vaping Information, Government of BC
- Risks of Vaping, Health Canada
- Learn About Vaping, Quit Now
- Vaping in Canada: What we know, Health Canada
- Vaping and quitting smoking, Health Canada
- Vaping product regulation, Health Canada
For existing smokers, vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but vaping still exposes users to chemicals that can cause lung damage. Vaping could also expose users to nicotine, which is highly addictive. Children, youth and non-smokers are at high risk of harmful effects of nicotine, including addiction. You are also at high risk if you are pregnant. Children and youth may become dependent on nicotine with lower levels of exposure than adults. The long-term health impacts of long term vaping are largely unknown.
Cannabis can also be vaped and should not be consumed in combination with nicotine, alcohol, other drugs or health products. This can increase impairment and the risk of other adverse effects.
For more information on the potential health issues related to vaping, visit: Cannabis, HealthLinkBC.ca.
- Talking with your teen about vaping, Government of Canada, (PDF, 413KB)
- Severe lung illness related to vaping, Government of Canada
- Statement from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health on vaping in Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada
- Talking about vaping with teens, Fraser Health Authority
- Health Info for Adults, Government of B.C.
- Health Info for Youth, Government of B.C.
Youth and Vaping
Open and honest dialogue with your children and family about issues like substance use can help build positive connections and enhance resilience. Refer to our Parenting Articles for advice on having conversations with your family.
- Consider the Consequences of Vaping, Health Canada
- Talking with your teen about vaping-a tip sheet for parents, Health Canada
- Youth Support, Government of B.C.
- Talking to Teens About Vaping, Government of B.C.
- Vaping Fact Sheets, Vancouver School Board
Laws and Regulations on the Use of Vapour Products in British Columbia
In B.C., vapour products are regulated in the same way as tobacco products. Tobacco and vapour products cannot be sold to minors or promoted publicly. They cannot be used in public buildings and workplaces, near doorways or air intakes of public buildings, or on school property. For more information on the current vaping legislation in BC, visit the Government of British Columbia - Requirements under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act and Regulation. In B.C., the legal age to buy vaping products is 19 years of age.
For more information about the laws and regulations visit:
- Laws, Government of B.C.
- Tobacco and Vapour Free Places, Government of B.C.
- Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, Government of Canada
- Tobacco and Vapour Products, Government of B.C.
Quitting tobacco smoking can be difficult, but many people are able to reduce the amount they smoke or quit completely. Replacing cigarettes with other nicotine products, such as chew tobacco is still harmful. While vaping products and e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a less harmful way than smoking cigarettes, they are not harmless. These products may reduce health risks for smokers who can't or don't want to quit using nicotine, but only if the user switches completely. For tips on how to quit smoking, and how to deal with temptations and cravings, click on the links below.
- Quitting Smoking (HealthLinkBC File #30c)
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support
- Quitting Smoking: Preventing Slips or Relapses
- Quitting Smoking: Temptations and Cravings
- Tobacco Products are not a Safe Alternative to Cigarettes (HealthLinkBC File #30b)
- Vaping and Quitting Smoking, Government of B.C.
QuitNow is the free, quit smoking program of the Government of British Columbia. The BC Lung Association delivers it online at QuitNow. It provides free one-on-one coaching by phone, chat or text to help you quit. QuitNow also provides planning tools, supportive text messaging tips and an active social media community where you can get inspiration from fellow quitters. The PharmaCare BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible B.C. residents who wish to stop smoking or using other tobacco products by helping with the cost of smoking cessation prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy products. For more information about the program, visit PharmaCare’s website on the BC Smoking Cessation Program.
For information about the health risks of smoking and second-hand smoke, tips on quitting and smoking cessation aids, see our Quit Smoking health feature.
Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Services
The Alcohol & Drug Information Referral Service (ADIRS) provides free, confidential information and referral services to British Columbians in need of support with any kind of substance use issue (alcohol or other drugs). Referral to community substance use treatment services is available for all ages.
Contact ADIRS toll-free at 1-800-663-1441, or in the lower mainland at 604-660-9382. Free, multilingual telephone help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
BC Centre for Disease Control
BCCDC provides health promotion and prevention services, and diagnostic and treatment services to reduce communicable and chronic disease, preventable injury and environmental health risks. BCCDC also provides analytical and policy support to government and health authorities.
British Columbia Drug and Poison Information Centre
If you think someone might have been poisoned by any substance, medicine or chemical, call the Poison Control Centre. The Poison Control line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911 (toll-free in B.C.) Telephone interpreting is available in over 150 languages.
British Columbia Lung Association
The British Columbia Lung Association supports research to find cures to lung diseases. The Association runs programs to keep kids off tobacco and e-cigarettes and advocates for laws that protect the air we all breathe. They provide vaping prevention toolkits.
Last updated: July 23, 2020