WATCH: Vaping in Edmonton

Shawn Kreger, owner of River City Vapes in Edmonton, comments on the Edmonton Police Service’s measures to curb vape use in the city.

Edmonton-area vape shops say a new Edmonton Police Service campaign to eliminate the sale of flavoured products will hurt those who use vapes as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

Police announced late June that they would visit vape retailers this summer to ensure compliance with the provincial Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act — specifically sections prohibiting sales to minors, advertising tobacco products and selling flavoured products.

But vape store owners argue this police enforcement isn’t just misguided, it’s also baseless.

They say that restricting flavoured vape juices, which contain nicotine extracted from tobacco, is a misinterpretation of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.

“By the time we get our nicotine in the solution we use, it is so far removed from tobacco. It’s not like we just squeeze leaves,” said Shawn Kreger, who owns and operates three River City Vapes locations around Edmonton.

“Even moreso, when you look at the definition of ‘to smoke,’ it’s to be lit. We don’t combust anything here.”

The EPS say they will issue hefty non-compliance fines to businesses — after an initial warning, a first offence could come with a fine of up to $10,000, and any subsequent offences could end in a ticket of up to $100,000.

— With files from Jason Herring