Electronic Cigarettes are products in the market that have been increasing in popularity. In 2016 the Newfoundland and Labrador Government introduced and passed amendments to the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act which regulated e-cigarettes in the same way that “regular” cigarettes are sold in the province. E-cigarettes are not to be used in enclosed public spaces, sold to anyone under the age of 19, and starting in 2017, are to be kept in hidden displays in retail establishments. In addition, the Government of Canada has introduced Bill S-5 which allows adults, in particular adult smokers, to legally access vaping products as a less harmful alternative to tobacco.
The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) offers a new “E-Cigarette Module” within its existing online course ‘Tobacco and Public Health: From Theory to Practice’ (which includes modules on Cessation, Prevention, Protection, and Evaluation). This module outlines what is currently known about vaping and vaping devices, and discusses product characteristics, regulation, health effects and secondhand exposure. If you are looking for a good overview of E-cigarettes, this module can be a very helpful tool.
The National Non-Smokers Rights Association (NSRA) has developed some very good informational material on these devices. According to their website:
An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a cylindrical device made of stainless steel or plastic that mimics a cigarette in terms of its appearance and use and sometimes taste, but with a critical distinction—it does not contain tobacco.
The e-cigarette controversy comes down to two opposing views. Proponents believe that the e-cigarette represents a clean drug delivery device that can satisfy smokers’ addiction to both nicotine and smoking behaviours (the physical sensations of handling the cigarette and inhaling smoke) and thus greatly reduce their risk of disease and death. Proponents also emphasize that even though e-cigarettes may not have undergone rigorous scientific testing, they cannot be as harmful as cigarettes, since with cigarettes, it is the mode of nicotine delivery—the tobacco smoke—that is responsible for most of the disease not the tobacco itself or the nicotine in it.
Those opposed believe that e-cigarettes should be treated like other therapeutic products containing nicotine; that is, their sale should not be permitted until they have undergone clinical trials to prove their safety and their efficacy in helping smokers quit. Opponents fear that the widespread promotion and use of e-cigarettes will result in dual use (of electronic and real cigarettes)—rather than increased quitting—and will undermine efforts to denormalize smoking. Opponents are also concerned that as novelty gadgets with perceived low risk, e-cigarettes may be attractive to youth and may lead to nicotine addiction and subsequent tobacco use.
In August 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO), released a report on the regulation of E-Cigarettes. It explains that while additional research is needed on multiple areas of e-cigarette use, regulations are required now to address health concerns caused by these devices.
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Other NSRA Resources:
- Fact Sheet on E-Cigarettes
- The Buzz on E-Cigarettes, an online brochure
- Power Point Presentation on E-Cigarettes
The New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition has developed a one-page handout on the issue of E-Cigarettes.