For some Canadians who choose vaping as their preferred means of CBD dosing, Ontario smoking laws in the wake of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act are making it harder to keep up with their CBD intake. Passed in 2017, this act seeks to balance the habits of smokers and vapers with the public’s right to not be subjected to second-hand smoke or other aerial byproducts without their consent. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on vaping in Ontario.
CBD: The New Way to Vape
The ability of CBD to be easily mixed into a vaping solution for bioavailable inhalation is what’s putting CBD users on a collision course with Ontario smoking laws. CBD has a lot of potential benefits to help promote the health and wellness of users, and vaping is a convenient way to dose on-the-go. The combination of no-mess usage, discretion, and the ability to control how much and how often you take CBD is perfect for busy office workers, gym rats, and frantic soccer moms—so pretty much everyone.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of 100+ active compounds found in the industrial hemp plant, a close relative of marijuana, although without the THC that makes users high. Hemp plants are harvested for their leaves, stems, and flowers, then the raw plant material is processed to extract its CBD-rich hemp oil. Once extracted, it is standardized and formulated into other products, like the vape juice covered by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and tested by a third party to verify its potency and purity.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is the inhalation or exhalation of vapor from an e-cigarette or, for purposes of Ontario smoking laws, simply holding an activated e-cigarette. This also includes vape juice used in other styles of vaporizers, such as “mods” or pipes. In most vapes, the smoking juice is either oil or glycerin based and held in a reservoir, such as a cartridge. This juice saturates a wick, which is near an electronic heating element. When activated, either by inhalation or the press of a button, the heating element warms the wicking to the point that the oil saturating it begins to vaporize, becoming arable particles. Users inhale these vapors, much as they would smoke with a traditional cigarette.
Vape juice is available with a variety of ingredients, including nicotine and CBD, both of which are covered, although differently in some circumstances, under Ontario smoking laws. Along with the substance, you will sometimes see fillers or binders meant to keep the active compounds in solution and flavorings. Flavors can range from simple to complex and are meant not only to make it more palatable for the user but less offensive to anyone who happens to catch a whiff. Rather than the ashy odor associated with burning tobacco, for instance, a vape pen may smell like cotton candy, pineapple, or bubble gum.
The Reason For the Smoke-Free Ontario Act
The rationale behind Ontario smoking laws is that public smoking and vaping, especially of nicotine-containing substances or medical marijuana, which is not differentiated from CBD throughout most of the Act, creates a public health issue. Second-hand tobacco smoke can cause a range of illnesses, from respiratory infections to COPD and lung cancer. Meanwhile, second-hand marijuana inhalation can most certainly get you high or cause you to fail a drug test. Beyond that, no one should be forced to inhale a substance without their consent. The balance between a vapers right to enjoy their product and the public’s right to not be forced to “enjoy” it with them is at the heart of the controversy surrounding Ontario smoking laws.
The Law in Brief
- You Cannot Smoke In Most Indoor Common Areas—If you are inside a building and other people may happen to wander through, you most likely cannot smoke there. This includes foyers, lobbies, and other buildings with four walls and a roof. This also includes outdoor shelters with two walls and a roof, such as bus stops.
- You Cannot Smoke in Indoor Areas Where Employees May Be Present—With very few exceptions, this is meant to respect the fact that an employee can often not leave their workstation to avoid second-hand inhalation. Ontario Smoking laws include most public and private business areas in this ban, so sneaking away to a restroom for a few puffs would also be contrary to the law.
- You Cannot Vape in Your Car If Someone 15 or Under Is Present—This is true for both CBD and nicotine products, as young lungs are more susceptible to damage. For cannabis vaping, however, unless you are a licensed medical marijuana user, it is illegal in a car that is moving or may be moved at any time.
- You Can Smoke in Your Private Residence—Unless you signed a lease or contract with a landlord, HOA, or similar entity forbidding it, your private residence has no smoking restrictions. The only issues are if you’re using your home as a place for childcare, you receive care from a caregiver in your home, or your second-hand smoke or vapor is infringing on other tenants lives in multi-unit dwellings.
- You Cannot Smoke Inside, Outside, or Near Schools, Hospitals, Medical Treatment Facilities, Certain Public Facilities, or Restaurant/Bar Patios—These are the places that can place your second-hand byproduct around employees, those with more susceptible lungs, or those who are immunocompromised.
The bottom line is to be aware of your surroundings and mindful of whether or not you’re in an area that could expose others to second-hand byproducts without their consent. For a full breakdown of the law, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has a detailed fact sheet that can serve as a reference resource.
Vaping CBD is still a fast, easy way to get your dose in, but due to the Ontario smoking laws and similar laws being passed by other municipalities throughout both the U.S. and Canada, care will need to be taken to avoid fines. Keep an eye on the issues that affect your CBD usage with the CoreCBD Blog.