10/03/2014 11:43 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST

Vancouver ban on e-cigarettes should be national, says foundation

Vancouver city councillors voted unanimously this week to ban e-cigarettes in public spaces and the sale of the devices to minors.

Now, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is urging the federal government to also restrict the use and purchase of e-cigarettes.

"We are asking all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal to act quickly to adopt regulations to protect Canadians similar to what Vancouver has done," said James, Lesley James, a senior health policy analyst for the foundation.

Vancouver city council's decision regarding e-cigarettes also includes ncluding banning their sale outright to minors.

The foundation advocates banning e-cigarettes in public spaces because, it says, little is known about the consequences of using the devices.

"We are not quite sure what the long-term impact of inhaling e-cigarette liquid is," James said.

Vancouver is the third Canadian jurisdiction to restrict e-cigarette use, joining the Regional Municipality of York in Ontario and the Red Deer, Alta.

School boards already have bans

A number of school boards in B.C. voted this past spring to ban e-cigarettes on school grounds, citing health concerns.

Health Canada prohibits electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine, and some health advocates warn the flavoured liquid solution could contain harmful chemicals.

However, they are easy to find in some Lower Mainland stores and on the internet. 

Electronic cigarettes that do not contain nicotine are legal and readily available in Canada.