Federally, provincially and municipally, there are no restrictions on the use of most electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes – battery-operated devices that mimic conventional cigarettes, but involve the heating and vapourization of a liquid solution – have become increasingly popular in recent years.

In Waterloo Region, they’re now available at many gas stations and other retail stores, but more commonly purchased online.

Still, because the products don’t contain any tobacco, they’re not subject to any anti-smoking legislation – but that may soon change.

Toronto’s medical officer of health has asked the province to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in public places, as well as the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes and visible display of any e-cigarettes.

If that doesn’t happen by next February, David McKeown says, his city should look at implementing its own ban.

In Waterloo Region, public health officials have not made any similar recommendations, although there is a ban on smoking e-cigarettes on Grand River Hospital property as part of the hospital’s anti-smoking guidelines.

Region of Waterloo Public Health nurse Laurie Nagge says despite the lack of regulation, there are some concerns about e-cigarettes, particularly because there are no specific manufacturing standards.

“When someone’s using an e-cigarette, they really don’t know what they’re getting (or) how quickly they’re getting it,” she says.

Health Canada’s latest guidelines on e-cigarettes, issued in 2009, iterate similar safety concerns, but federal legislation only regulates e-cigarettes that contain nicotine or claim they can help users quit smoking.

With files from CTVNews.ca