e-cigarette makers are now selling online their products through websites that are not regulated by the government of Canada.
The move has been a major hit for Canadian smokers who are struggling to find ways to quit.
But the change is also putting more pressure on the government to change the rules for online retailers.
A group of experts says the new rules are too restrictive and are unlikely to deter the new businesses.
The Canadian Council on Science and Technology says it has a “grave concern” about the online retailers because they could create new and untested nicotine-containing products.
And it says the proposed rules are likely to have a chilling effect on new businesses that seek to operate outside of the regulated Canadian market.
They warn the new online retailers could open new market opportunities for illicit marketing.
The group has called on the new Canadian government to take a “hard look” at how to regulate online retailers in a manner that does not threaten the success of existing retailing businesses.
This is the third time that the federal government has announced plans to crack down on online retailers, after an online retailer was fined $10 million in 2015.
The online retailers have to meet the same rigorous standards as licensed retailers.
But they must do so by registering with Health Canada and have the approval of the minister responsible for the jurisdiction.
The new rules also require the sellers to post a “clear and conspicuous” notice that says “this site may not be used for the sale of tobacco products.”
The group says the wording is vague and it could be interpreted as including online retailers selling cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco.
We are concerned that there is a very clear and conspicuous exclusion of e-cigs from this provision, which is the only way that the government is actually regulating this industry, says Chris Bales, the group’s president and CEO.
We think that the new regulations could have significant unintended consequences for the online retail industry, which could be devastating for existing business owners, said Bales.