VANCOUVER - Richmond city council is voting Tuesday on whether to ban vaping-related advertisements on city property.

If the anti-vaping policy recommendation from staff is approved, the city would formally oppose advertisements for e-cigarette products on bus shelters, benches and "other street furniture."

In an Oct. 9 report to council, City Solicitor Anthony Capuccinello Iraci notes the U.S. has seen as many as 18 deaths due to vaping-related lung illnesses. Canada's top doctors are also sounding the alarm about vaping products, after several severe cases of lung illness cropped up across country.

A policy against vaping ads "promotes public health and brings attention to the serious health risks associated with vaping, particularly for youth and minors who are often the target audience of such advertising," Iraci wrote.

Vaping has been marketed as an anti-smoking aid or healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products. But research suggests there's far more nicotine in vaping cartridges compared to cigarettes, Iraci wrote.

E-cigarettes simulate smoking by vapourizing fluid, which can contain nicotine or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Investigations into the severe pulmonary illnesses reported in the states have suggested illness is more common when vaping THC, but officials don't know why.

The CEO of market heavyweight Juul Labs stepped down last month following a spike in illnesses and concern over teenage vaping. Two B.C. men are also suing the vape brand, alleging they suffered "adverse health conditions" after using the company's e-cigarettes in 2018.

Last December, one North Vancouver high school went as far as locking their bathroom doors to prevent students from meeting there to vape.

The Central Okanagan School District also says it has met with several municipal governments to encourage them to develop bylaws to prevent vaping advertisements from targeting minors. The Canadian Pediatric Society has also called for a ban on flavoured vaping products.

The B.C. Ministry of Health is expected to announce a strategy this fall to reduce teens' access to vaping products.