Retailer Changes for the Sale of Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Devices (Vaping Products)

What are the recent changes to the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act and regulations?


The three main changes to the Act and Regulations are:

1. The age to purchase tobacco or an electronic smoking device has changed from 19 to 21 years of age. However there will be a transition period where individuals who turned 19 years of age before March 1, 2020 will still be permitted to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices;
2. Electronic smoking devices can only be sold in tobacconist shops. This includes the device and any associated products, including e-liquids. A tobacconist shop is an age-restricted location whose primary business is the retail sale of tobacco and/or electronic smoking devices. Primary business means at least 50% of the retailer’s product display space is devoted to the sale of tobacco, Electronic smoking devices, or a combination of both;
3. Signage found in retail locations has been updated to reflect the new minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices. Signage was provided to all retailers during recent visits to retail locations.

When do retailers need to comply with these changes?

Changes to the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act and Regulations come into force on March 1, 2020.

How are retailers being informed of the amendments to the legislation?

A letter was mailed out to all retailers on February 5, 2020. In addition, an Environmental Health Officer/Tobacco Enforcement Officer has visited all retail locations to provide new signage, discuss the changes, and advise of the updated "Toolkit for Responsible Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Retailers".

Who can sell electronic smoking devices after March 1, 2020?

Only tobacconist shops can sell electronic smoking devices after March 1, 2020. A tobacconist shop is an age-restricted location whose primary business is the retail sale of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, or a combination of both. Primary business means at least 50% of the retailer’s product display space is devoted to the sale of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, or a combination of both.

Are there restrictions on the sale of flavoured electronic smoking devices (vape products, including e-liquids)? 

The Department will be proceeding with amendments respecting the sale of flavoured electronic smoking devices. Until that time, tobacconist shops are permitted to sell flavoured electronic smoking devices and e-liquids. Further communication will be sent to tobacconist shops later in 2020 when the Department finalizes restrictions on flavours. 

Can I sell tobacco and electronic smoking devices to a person who turned 19 years of age before March 1, 2020, when the law comes into force?

Yes. There is a transition period in place where individuals who turned 19 years of age before March 1, 2020 will still be permitted to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices.

If I am a tobacconist, can I sell both tobacco and electronic smoking devices or do I have to choose?

Yes, you can sell both tobacco and electronic smoking devices if you meet the operational requirements of a tobacconist shop. Note you must be licensed in order to sell tobacco products.

Does an employee have to be 21 years of age to sell tobacco or electronic smoking devices?

Only employees in tobacconist shops must be 21 years of age or older (or at least 19 years of age before March 1, 2020) because entry into a tobacconist shop is restricted to people who are 21 years of age or older (or at least 19 years of age before March 1, 2020). Employees in any other retail location do not have to be 21 years of age to sell tobacco or electronic smoking devices.

Given the recent changes in age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices, how should I be directing my employees to verify a customer’s age?

Direct your staff to verify that the customer was born before March 1, 2001. If a customer was born before March 1, 2001, it means the customer was at least 19 years of age before the changes to law came into force and so you are legally able to sell to them. Beginning on March 1, 2022, you will need to verify that ALL customers are at least 21 years of age.  A customer age verification tool has been developed to help operators and staff determine if a customer meets the age requirement.

Is there a training program available to help tobacco and electronic smoking device retailers and employees understand the rules around selling these products? 

Yes, our “Toolkit for Responsible Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Retailers” was recently updated and covers the changes to the Act and Regulations. You can use the toolkit to train and quiz your staff to ensure they fully understand the rules and sell these products responsibly.

Who will enforce the legislation?

The legislation will continue to be enforced by Environmental Health Officers/Tobacco Enforcement Officers employed by the Department of Health and Wellness.

How will non-compliance be handled?

Routine inspections will be carried out to ensure compliance with the legislation. Officers will also be available to provide assistance by answering any questions operators or employees may have.

Will there be fines for non-compliance?

Any retailer or person found to be in violation of the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act or the Regulations is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction:
· For a first offence, to a fine not exceeding $2000;
· For a second and subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $5000;
A retailer’s license may also be suspended or cancelled pursuant to Section 8 of the Tobacco Tax Act if found guilty of an offence related to tobacco in any Act or Regulations of the Legislative Assembly of PEI.

Where can I get a copy of the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act and Regulations?

The Act and Regulations are available at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/legislation

Who can I contact for more information in regard to the Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Device Sales and Access Act and Regulations?

For further information you can contact:
Environmental Health 
Department of Health and Wellness
PO Box 2000 
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Phone: (902)368-4970
Toll-free: 1(800)958-6400
Email: envhealth@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
February 28, 2020