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The trend toward using electronic cigarettes has health officials worried

by on 12/10/13

Dr. Michael Routledge

The province of Manitoba's chief health officer is worried by the potential rapid increase of e-cigarettes. Dr. Michael Routledge has claimed that this subject has also recently been raised at the national meetings of all health officials. The main and greatest concern is the fact that this new popularization of the electronic devices can consequently cause the act of smoking seem like a very cool and sociable activity once again which would produce a new generation of full time smokers. While Routledge was interviewed he highlighted the fact that tobacco was indeed normalized in the society we live in for a very long time. He emphasized how there are devastating impacts on health due to smoking and how we are still tackling these health problems today. Routledge made it no secret that he is deeply concerned particularly about the recent marketing of new flavored e-cigarettes which in turn are being used clearly to entice those who don't smoke to the products. These new products centralize around adolescents. 

It is true that cigarettes are extremely addictive and adolescents these days are tempted to give them a try. Routledge is concerned that if adolescents try the electronic cigarettes they may then go on to regularly smoke ordinary cigarettes. That is why these electronic devices raise so much concern. He also stated how e-cigarettes are unregulated and untested. This means that the health risks involved are unknown and therefore the devices could potentially be dangerous, however Routledge feels that e-cigarettes are likely safer than ordinary cigarettes. Although they may be safer, he certainly does not advise them or support them in any way. He has made it clear that there are already products out there which have been regulated for those who want to quit smoking. These include products including nicotine gum and also the patch.

E-cigarettes were also a hot topic recently when four hundred tobacco control experts in Canada and also around the world got together in Ottawa for the Tobacco or Health debate at the National Conference. One concern which was expressed at this conference was the idea that the products are not at all regulated in the nation of Canada. Melodie Tilson of the Non Smokers' Rights Association mentioned how Canada's 'Wild West' approach simply just does not work. She claimed that Canada needs to be certain that electronic cigarette policy minimizes any risks by having proper manufacturing standards, accurate and clear labeling on products which tells the public about the health risks and also regulatory controls which are similar to those found on all tobacco products. There is currently no strong evidence whatsoever to prove the idea that e-cigarettes are actually an effective and efficient smoking aid. To add to this, the potential health risks on the long run are completely unknown. Tracy Fehr who is the tobacco reduction co-ordinator for the MLA, otherwise known as the Manitoba Lung Association conveyed how the fact that they are untested causes huge concern and there is no good enough evidence to support the idea they are a good nicotine replacement. She feels that they should be regulated just like all other tobacco products.

Both Fehr and Routledge are worried that e-cigarettes could lead to smoking being normalized again. This is dangerous around youths and can cause a whole new generation of health problems. It was estimated that around 15% of children aged between 13 and 17 in Canada have at least tried tobacco and from 2010 to the start of 2011, electronic cigarette usage had doubled in America.