With the vaping industry now a regulated industry in Canada, there are now regulators coming around making sure stores are only stocking and promoting products in a compliant way. Although from province to province and even city to city there are different laws and different levels of enforcement based on the officer in your region, by following these steps you should be trouble free
Characters on bottles or marketing materials
According to Bill S5, section 30.21 states that no testimonials are allowed, and that includes depictions of characters, real or fictitious. What this means is that if anything you sell has any animals, faces or anything that resembles a character, you cannot stock it. What many vape store owners are doing is covering up the characters (such as the falcon on the Horizon Falcontech Tank) with white stickers and selling them like that.
Recently there was a store who had a big cardboard popup promoting a juice brand with monkeys on it, and the store manager was asked to get rid of it by the compliance officer. This shows that not only are your products going to be examined, but also your marketing materials such as banners, posters and the like.
- Disallowed flavours or descriptions
- In Bill S5, all flavours that can be interpreted as a confectionary, dessert, energy drink, soft drink or marijuana flavour is not allowed. For example calling a Custard a Kustard doesn't work; there has to be room for interpretation. This doesn't only apply to the flavour name but also the description, whether it's on the bottle, on some marketing material in store or a product online.
- One of a vape stores biggest fear is to sell products to an underage person. This can cause huge backlash from the vaping industry as well as fines from the government. It seems pretty obvious to ID anyone that looks underage but this can also be a problem as some people physically develop faster, and someone can come in looking older than they are. The best practice used in most locations is to ID anyone that looks under 30. Sure, you may offend a small number of people, however that is just the cost of staying in business.
- One big mistake that many shop owners and employees do is ID the customer when they are buying something, however this is actually not the right way to do things. A vape store can put up posters and promote their products only because youth are not able to see it, so this means that vape stores must ID the person as soon as they walk in.
- This is something that differs from region to region so take care to understand any provincial or municipal bylaws that effect you. For example in BC, only 2 people are allowed to vape at one time in a store, and only for testing purposes. No staff or anyone hanging out can test. Although again it depends on how strict your enforcement officer is, try to be on top of this.
- Many stores have an online presence, and if you do make sure that your website has an age verification system as well as the delivery company you use. While Canada Post offers age verification and signature services, they only do that in Canada and it doesnt work with PO boxes. The best company to use for this would probably be UPS as they can ask for age verification even if you are shipping to the US.
In all, it doesn't take much besides staying vigilant to be compliant these days. Having problems with regulations and regulators can cost you a lot of time and money, so work with these basic points and you should be fine. Of course, as stated before each jurisdiction may have extra rules that you should know about but the above are the main ones. If you have any questions or additions to the above list, let us know!