Fort Saskatchewan City Council has made it easier for people to try before they buy when it comes to electronic cigarettes and vaping.
The city’s newly approved smoking bylaw bans the use of vaporizers and similar systems in a number of locations, including workplaces, indoor public places, public vehicles and vehicles where minors are present, and within five metres of doorways, windows and air intakes in public places or workplaces.
Vaping will also be banned at certain outdoor events like markets, festivals, concerts and parades and within 10 metres of day cares, pools, playgrounds, school property, sports fields and spray parks.
The same rules apply to tobacco smoking. Cannabis users face tighter restrictions – the new bylaw includes a complete ban on cannabis smoking in indoor and outdoor public areas in the city.
Before approving the bylaw on Tuesday, council voted 6 to 1 to pass an exemption that will let people use vaporizers inside vape shops – but only for the purpose of testing devices or products while they’re deciding what to buy.
City staff told council that it is common industry practice for e-cigarette retailers to let shoppers sample products before buying.
Mayor Gale Katchur was the only council member to vote against the amendment.
“I really do believe that our goal is to not have smoking inside of any kind,” she said. “I think if people want to test a product, they can take it home and test a sample.”
City staff pointed out that the cities of Edmonton and Calgary have both included vaping retailer exemptions in their smoking bylaws.
In supporting the amendment councillor Brian Kelly said that many people consider e-cigarette use a legitimate way to wean themselves off the tobacco habit.
“I fully support it and I'd like to see it go through,” he said.