05/28/2015 05:20 EDT | Updated 05/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Manitoba set to join list of provinces limiting use of electronic cigarettes

WINNIPEG - Manitoba is about to join a growing number of provinces that limit the use of electronic cigarettes.

Healthy Living Minister Deanne Crothers says she will introduce a bill in the legislature on Monday aimed at protecting people who don't want to be exposed to the vapour.

Crothers says she cannot reveal details until the bill is made public.

But she says the legislation will strike a balance between protecting the public and supporting people who use e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco.

British Columbia and Ontario have recently moved to ban e-cigarettes in indoor public areas and restrict the way they can be advertised and displayed.

Crothers said Manitoba's approach will be "unique" but along similar lines.

"I definitely don't want to get in the way of people quitting smoking, but I do want to create a clear indication to members of the public of where it's appropriate to vape or use e-cigarettes and where it isn't," Crothers said Thursday.

"Primarily we're looking at this from a protecting-children perspective."

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that do not contain tobacco but can be used to heat a liquid, creating a vapour that users inhale.

No inserts containing nicotine have been approved for sale in Canada, but they are widely available.

Their popularity has been fuelled by the belief that they do not pose the same health risks as traditional cigarettes, although concerns have been raised about the safety of e-cigarette vapour.

Some anti-tobacco advocates argue the devices perpetuate nicotine addiction and may entice teens to take up smoking.

Nova Scotia and Quebec have also moved on e-cigarette restrictions.

The provinces have been acting in absence of any lead from the federal government.

"It certainly would have been easier for us to have those kind of (federal) regulations in place, but I think many other people in the same position that I'm in are frustrated by waiting too long," Crothers said.

"This is a product, the use of it is growing dramatically."

The bill will undergo public hearings — a requirement for all legislation in Manitoba — and could become law later this year.