The Nova Scotia government is promising to move quickly to bring in regulations for electronic cigarettes.
The battery-operated devices deliver nicotine as a vapour, which proponents say is healthier than smoking.
An e-cigarette store has been operating in New Glasgow since August and another opened in Halifax less than two months ago.
It's a trend that worries Nova Scotia's Health Minister Leo Glavine.
"The e-cigarette does have disturbing elements to it," he said.
E-cigarettes are not covered under the province's smoking ban.
Glavine said he worries that after years of working to cut smoking rates, e-cigarettes will make lighting up acceptable again.
"Is this the very beginnings of really undermining a whole public atmosphere that is truly smoke-free?" he asked.
The financial lure of e-cigarettes is also strong. Three cartons of regular cigarette can cost close to $250. That's roughly equivalent to a $20 bottle of nicotine syrup for the e-cigarettes.
"I think the potential of a slide backward here could come about," said Glavine. "We will do everything as a department of health and I, as minister, to make sure we don't regress."
E-cigarettes fall into a legal grey area because they're not approved for sale by Health Canada.
Craig Sievert's family has been in the tobacco business in Halifax since the 1870s, but he’s staying away from the devices for now.
"If it's controlled by the government or it's approved by Health Canada, fine, we'll sell it. I don't want to get involved with it unless it's actually allowed," he said.
The health minister says Nova Scotia's e-cigarette regulations could be introduced at the legislature in the session that starts on Thursday, or -- at the very latest -- in the spring.
Canadian goverment officials attack electronic cigarettes, claiming that they are unsafe and their risks are up to par with tobacco smoking. The fact of the matter is that it is simply untrue. But in order to understand why, we must understand the anatomy and the science behind the electronic cigarette.
The anatomy of an electronic cigarette may seem like a complex mystery, but when broken down, is very simple. There's a battery that's tucked away inside a casing, where a removable heating coil screws onto the battery. This removable heating coil is known as an atomizer, which is responsible for turning the flavored liquid (known as e-juice or e-liquid) into a gas/vapour once activated, thus, creating the water vapour that makes electronic cigarettes so popular.
The anatomy and functionality of an electronic cigarette is very similar to how a computer works; the atomizer and the battery are the "hardware" and the e-juice is the "software" that utilizes the hardware and creates the functional experience.
In most cases, e-juice or e-liquid contains nicotine, and the vapour is created to mimic the appearance of smoke, which the user will inhale, making e-cigarettes a much safer and smoke-free alternative to smoking by creating a satisfying smoking experience without the negative effects of tobacco like disease, tar, filth, yellow teeth, and the other deadly consequences of smoking traditional cigarettes.
There are many shapes and sizes to electronic cigarettes from the traditional cigarette shape, to pipes, boxes, tubes, and more. There are also varieties to atomizers from "dripping units" to clearomizers, cartomizers, and tanks that can hold more e-juice. Drip tips, which are the mouthpieces for the atomizer, also come in a wide range of choices such as metal, glass, acrylic, etc. and can range in appearance from simple to elaborate decorations. Regardless of fancy designs or complex functions, when it all comes down to it, electronic cigarettes are an atomizer with a battery to enable it to vaporize e-juice, which contains only four ingrediants; vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), flavoring, and nicotine.
These ingredients are no stranger to the human body. VG and PG are already found in numerous foods and beverages, and they are also used to create the fog you may see in theaters and haunted houses (or wherever else you may see theatrical fog). There have been numerous studies on these materials. For example, studies have indicated that there are no serious concerns in the inhalation of vaporized VG. Also, studies in the inhalation use of vaporized PG go back to the 1940's indicated no serious concerns. In fact,asthma users will already be familiar with PG, as it is used in asthma inhalers to carry the medicine to the person's lungs.
Nicotine has not been exempt from being examined, as the risks of use have been studied for decades. The long known fact of the matter is that the risk for nicotine users through cigarettes and electronic cigarettes have been compared with risk of caffeine consumption at a similar level, and the result is that there is virtually no risk.
Regardless how many ways that PG is used safely, including inhalation uses, Health Canada has attacked e-cigarettes by issuing a deceptive "advisory" in 2009 stating that, "...the inhalation of propylene glycol is a known irritant."
What does that even mean? It doesn't mean much, since VG and PG are humectants, meaning that they draw moisture to themselves. So for someone who frequently vapes will drink more water to avoid this "irritation" which is really a mild dehydration. If we're to compare risks, it seems as though dealing with mild dehydration is not as serious as the deadly risk factors from cigarette smoking.
There really isn't any credible nor conclusive scientific evidence that proves that inhaling vaporized e-juice from an e-cigarette is any riskier than the average consumption of caffeine. There have been numerous, on-going observational studies occurring with millions of e-cigarette users over the last five years all over the world. These observational studies indicate that the risks of e-cigarettes are at about the same as typical caffeine consumption...meaning that once we get to the heart of the matter, the risks are minor when compared to smoking tobacco.
Governments around the world (including Canada) have begun to take a closer look at electronic cigarettes and are concerned about wheather or not they are safe and how they should be regulated. Although governments have significantly limited the marketing and use of regular cigarettes, the FDA is looking to create similar rules regarding what is often considered to be a safer alternative.
Half of the country's states have banned the resale of these electronic cigarettes to minors. Also, 41 state attorneys have banded together to encourage the FDA to regulate these cigarettes. The USDOT and Transport Canada also say that electronic cigarettes will not be allowed on airplanes just like normal cigarettes are not permitted.
The e-cigarette industry says that this product is not as dangerous as people think it could be and that e-cigarettes can even reduce the likelihood of a typical person to smoke a real cigarette. The industry argues that these are too different from real cigarettes and that they should not be treated any differently.
However, some people say that the government is simply trying to make money off of taxes while also regulating the industry. This includes the belief that the government wants to ride off of something similar to what's done with traditional cigarettes.
Amazingly enough, the United States is not the only place in the world that is dealing with issues on how to treat electronic cigarettes. The European Union recently decided that electronic cigarettes should be treated in the same way as real cigarettes in terms of marketing and sale controls. Therefore, minors cannot buy e-cigarettes in the EU and the marketing process for them is extremely limited. This is in spite of how some EU countries like Germany, Ireland, Poland and Norway continue to offer them to this day.
This is different from the EU's original plan to regular e-cigarettes as medical devices. This could have made it especially hard for people in the EU to acquire them as they'd have to go to pharmacies to get them if this happened.
The United Kingdom doesn't have many limits on how e-cigarettes can be marketed. Still, individual advertisements for some products have been banned in the past.
Some countries have their own ideas for how to handle these e-cigarettes. They are legal in Canada as long as they do not contain nicotine but the government doesn't endorse them either way. Switzerland allows them if they don't have nicotine but ones with nicotine can be imported. South Korea also has strong taxes on these e-cigarettes.
Finally, some places won't even allow them to begin with. E-cigarettes are illegal in Mexico, Singapore and Dubai among other places.
Studies Show That E-Cigarettes Save Millions of Lives written by: Alex M There have been many victories and feats for the world of anti-smoking advocates. The public is now more aware of how harmful cigarettes are, which has created a stir that makes it difficult for people to start or continue smoking. Because of this ripple effect, smoking rates are now down. However, the anti-smoking crowd still isn't satisfied, as they have now set their sites on a safe product that has saved millions of lives; the e-cigarette.
E-cigarettes, also known as electronic cigarettes, are a safer and less harmful alternative to cigarettes. This is due to the fact that electronic cigarettes work by heating a liquid (usually water containing nicotine and other flavoring), which then produces a water vapour, thus giving the illusion of real smoking, without the harmful effects that come with tobacco-based cigarettes.
Dr. James Aw, a medical doctor from Toronto, Canada and director of the Medcan Clinic, isn't so convinced that e-cigarettes are safer, as he presented recently in his writings. However, he neglects to recognize that e-cigarettes are an important breakthrough in harm reduction technology for those who are wishing to quit smoking, and that e-cigarettes have the potential of life-saving technology that can help millions. But it doesn't matter to Dr. Aw. There are three reasons for his wariness:
1. The marketing campaign
Dr. Aw addresses that e-cigarettes have been heavily pushed by internet marketing, thus making smoking seem "cool" again. However, in response to this reasoning, e-cigarettes are ground-breaking, and of course would be heavily pushed by online manufacturers. In fact, if this new technology can get people to quit smoking, the word needs to get out there. Out of the over 250 companies that are currently making e-cigarettes, there is only one American tobacco company that is in the market. So therefore, it is common sense for the heavy marketing due to the competition.
Dr. Aw's argument is that the intense marketing will encourage young people and children to try smoking. But there is no concrete evidence that even suggest that e-cigarettes are a gateway drug to traditional cigarettes (also called "analogue cigarettes" by e-cigarette users). In fact the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) conducted a study on e-cigarettes among the youth population and were not able to find a single adolescent of a non-smoking background who became a smoker after trying e-cigarettes. Also, there is no evidence of e-cigarette manufacturers targeting young children in their ad campaigns. Unfortunately, Dr. Aw wasn't able to provide any proof to support this claim.
Because electronic cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, Dr. Aw also believes that this is meant to get young people addicted to nicotine. There is another flaw to this logic as flavored smokes are very popular amongst smokers. The more variety in flavors, the more likely smokers of various backgrounds and tastes will switch over to e-cigarettes. Simple as that.
2. Don't fall into the hype
A 2011 literature review that was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy concludes that there is evidence that suggests that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. While there are only a few claims that e-cigarettes are completely safe, there is no doubt that they are much safer than smoking tobacco.
But Dr. Aw is concerned that e-cigarettes are being spun and promoted as smoking cessation products (like the patch or gum) that provides smokers a safer way to indulge in their unhealthy habits, when they haven't been shown to be completely safe. To support his claims, he brings up a study from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that found carcinogens in only 18 samples of e-liquid (that part that is vaporized in e-cigarettes). In fact, these samples contain no more trace levels of carcinogens than other nicotine-replacement products like the patch or gum.
Now, Dr. Aw stands strong on the fact that using e-cigarettes will lead to one to quit smoking. To support his claim, he uses a study that stated that e-cigarettes are as effective as the patch, which isn't actually a bad thing, nor does it support his argument. In 2011, another study was published in the journal called, "Addiction", found that 79% of e-cigarette smokers were able to successfully quit over other methods. It seems that e-cigarettes are an improvement over traditional pharmacotherapy for those who want to quit smoking, and this should be considered a win for advocates of public health if e-cigarettes convince more people to quit smoking.
The previously mentioned CDC study likes to get abused by Dr. Aw, by stating that the study showed an increase in numbers of young people who are trying e-cigarettes. But what Dr. Aw failed to acknowledge is that the study only considered the number of kids who tried the product, it doesn't show whether they started using e-cigarettes on a regular basis or not.
Finally, according to Boston University School of Public Health professor, Dr. Michael Seigal, he states that the majority (90.6%) of young people who experimented with e-cigarettes were already smokers. Which goes against Dr. Aw's claims of electronic cigarettes being the gateway towards traditional cigarettes. If majority of young people were already smokers when they tried e-cigarettes, then it is not a bad thing if the water vapour product can reduce the chances of these young people growing up to be cigarette addicts.
3. Complement instead of supplant
Finally, Dr. Aw is worried that smokers will use electronic cigarettes to complement and supplement their habits by using them in places where smoking is not allowed (ie. restaurants, bars, etc.). Again, according to Dr. Seigal, there is no evidence to support that "dual users" of electronic and tobacco cigarettes increased their consumption of nicotine. On the contrary, users of electronic cigarettes, even if they are dual users, lower their overall nicotine consumption.