A Specialty Vape Store is a business registered with the local Board of Health that primarily sells vapour products.

A retailer can register as a Specialty Vape Store if the following criteria are met:

  • A Specialty Vape Store must have vapour products account for at least 85 per cent of its total sales in the previous year. If the retailer has been in operation for less than a year, at least 85 per cent of the retailer’s total inventory purchases or sales for that time period must be vapour products.
  • The remaining up to 15 per cent of the store’s revenues or inventory would have to be dedicated to other items associated with a vapour product or branded with the name of the specialty vape store or a brand of vapour products.

Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017), registered Specialty Vape Stores are permitted to display and promote vapour products. Specialty Vape Stores may allow customers to view vapour products before the point of purchase as well as handle them.

This rule applies to heat-not-burn e-cigarette devices intended for use with tobacco, but packaged without the tobacco component. However, the tobacco component of a heat-not-burn e-cigarette device (e.g., heat stick) cannot be displayed or promoted, unless the retailer is registered as a tobacconist. For more information, please see the Fact Sheet for Tobacconists.

The use of e-cigarettes is prohibited in enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces, including vapour product retailers. However, the SFOA, 2017 and its regulation provide an exemption for the testing and sampling of vapour products in specialty vape stores.

In order to display and promote vapour products, and allow customers to test or sample vapour products, the Specialty Vape Store must also comply with the following conditions:

  1. No person under 19 years of age is permitted into the store, except for the owner of the store, an employee or a support person accompanying an adult with a disability. A person who appears to be less than 25 years old is considered to be less than 19 years old unless they can provide proper identification.
  2. The place of business of the Specialty Vape Store must be a building or must be located within a building.
  3. Customers must be able to enter the place of business of the Specialty Vape Store only from the outdoors or from the areas of an enclosed shopping mall that are:
    1. open to the public
    2. common to most of the retail establishments or other businesses within the mall
    3. not part of a retail establishment or other business within the mall
  4. The place of business of the Specialty Vape Store must not be a thoroughfare (e.g., passageway).
  5. In the case of testing or demonstrating an e-cigarette device, the customer is only permitted to hold the activated e-cigarette without inhaling or exhaling vapour from the device.
  6. In the case of sampling a vapour product, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Only two customers may sample the vapour product in the store at the same time.
    2. The vapour product cannot contain tobacco, cannabis or a controlled substance.
    3. The e-cigarette must be the personal possession of the customer, or if the e-cigarette is supplied by the store it must come with a disposable mouthpiece for one-time use.
  7. In the case of displaying and promoting vapour products, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Display and promotion is only permitted within the retail establishment (i.e. not in front of the retail establishment).

“No Smoking” , “No Vaping”, or dual “No Smoking” and “No Vaping” signs must be posted at all store entrances, exits and washrooms, in appropriate locations and sufficient numbers, so that everyone knows that smoking and vaping is not permitted.

All Specialty Vape Stores must post, in clear view of the customer at the point of sale:

  • a Vapour Age Restriction sign
  • a Vapour Product Identification sign

Specialty Vape Stores that sell tobacco products for use with electronic cigarettes (e.g., heat-not-burn) must post, in clear view of the seller and customer at the point of sale:

  • a Tobacco Age Restriction sign
  • a Tobacco Product Identification sign

Order or print “No Smoking”, “No Vaping” and retailer signs for your establishment.

Apply to register as a Specialty Vape Store.

Print the Specialty Vape Stores Fact Sheet.