British Columbia | British Columbia

Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act

Bill 14, the Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2015, received royal assent on 14 May 2015 and came into force on 1st September 2016. It repealed the Tobacco Control Act.

BC’s new legislation, the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act and Regulation, bring in new requirements for the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and workplaces. All requirements regarding use of tobacco remain as they were in the previous Tobacco Control Act and Tobacco Control Regulation.

A person must not smoke tobacco, hold lighted tobacco, use an e-cigarette, or hold an activated e-cigarette in any building, structure, vehicle or any other place that is fully or substantially enclosed and:

  • Is a place to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication, whether or not a fee is charged for entry;
  • Is a workplace;
  • Is within 6 m from a doorway, window or air intake of a place;
  • Is in a vehicle with a passenger under the age of 16 whether or not any window, sunroof, car-top, door or other feature of the vehicle is open (Motor Vehicles Act);
  • Is a common area of an apartment building, condominium and dormitory;
  • Is a transit shelter;
  • Is a prescribed place.

In addition, a person must not smoke or use tobacco, hold lighted tobacco, use an e-cigarette, or hold an activated e-cigarette:

  • In or on school property;
  • On health board property (health boards are permitted designated smoking/vaping areas).

An exception was made in the Regulation to allow customers in adult-only vapour products stores to learn how to use vapour products or to test products that they wish to buy. The exception has the following conditions:

  • Retailers/employees can hold and activate vapour products only for the purpose of showing customers how to use the product;
  • Retailers/employees cannot inhale or use the vapour product;
  • A customer can sample an e-substance in the store if:
    • They are testing or sampling products that they intend to purchase and consume off-site; and
    • Only two customers may sample vapour products at any time in a retail store;
  • Retailers/employees cannot use vapour products on site;
  • Retailers must take steps to ensure the second hand vapour does not escape to adjacent premises or public areas.

Products Included

Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, Electronic Smoking Devices, Other Tobacco Products


“E-cigarette” means the following:

  1. A product or device, whether or not it resembles a cigarette, containing an electronic or battery-powered heating element capable of vapourizing an e-substance for inhalation or release into the air;
  2. A prescribed product or device similar in nature or use to a product or device described in paragraph (a);

“Activated e-cigarette” means an e-cigarette in which an e-substance is being vapourized;

“E-substance” means a solid, liquid or gas:

  1. That, on being heated, produces a vapour for use in an e-cigarette, regardless of whether the solid, liquid or gas contains nicotine, and
  2. That is not a controlled substance within the meaning of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada);

“Vapour product” means the following:

  1. An e-cigarette;
  2. An e-substance;
  3. A cartridge for or a component of an e-cigarette.

“Tobacco” means tobacco leaves or products produced from tobacco in any form or for any use.

Places Smoking Prohibited

Doorways, air intakes, operable windows
E-cigarettes (indoors)
E-cigarettes (outdoors)
Enclosed public places
Enclosed workplaces
Hospital Grounds
Private Vehicles with Children Present
Transit Shelters/Stops

Buffer Zones

Doorways, Air Intakes and Operable Windows - Buffer Zone 1-10 m

Policy Analysis

This law is considered leading edge because it prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in all indoor public places and workplaces, as well as within 6 m of doorways, windows and air intakes (doubling the previous buffer zone of 3 m).

In addition to all tobacco products, it also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in or on school property and on the grounds of health boards (designated smoking/vaping areas permitted).


The Bill adds authority for enforcement officers to enter and inspect places where vapour products are offered for sale.

Date Passed: May 14, 2015

Date in Force: September 1, 2016

Date Last Amended:

Leading Edge: Yes

Level of Government: Provincial/Territorial

Smoke-free Ontario Act Status: Exceeds Smoke-free Ontario Act

Bylaw Under Development? No

Supporting Information

Please find contact information related to this bylaw, and links to supporting materials.


  • Victoria: 250-387-6121
  • Vancouver: 604-660-2421
  • Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-663-7867
  • Outside B.C.: 604-660-2421

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