E-cig regulation needed, says Vancouver Coastal Health

Concerns arise over availabilty of the flavoured faux nicotine sticks. Photo By Ali Crane

Kevin Murray, manager of Vancouver’s City Cigar Emporium at 888 West 6th Ave., has a mint flavoured disposable electronic cigarette. Photo by Ali Crane

Some e-cigarette users might have to butt out soon due to a recent call from Vancouver Coastal Health to regulate the industry.

In simple terms, an e-cigarette is a miniaturized vaporizing heating element, said Bill Newton of Vancouver’s City Cigar Emporium at 888 W 6th Ave.

It turns a glycerin based liquid into a heated vapour. Physically it looks like a normal cigarette except the tip is implanted with a blue or red LED light.

 An unregulated industry

Presently, the industry is unregulated. The devices can be purchased by people of all ages and can be used in non-smoking areas.

Dr. Meena Dawar of Vancouver Coastal Health said their use should be restricted in the same fashion as tobacco.

“Our concerns are that users don’t know what they are getting,” Dawar said.

“We think their use should be regulated for consumer safety, as well as for protecting the rights of non-users.”

Currently it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes with nicotine, but it’s very easy to acquire them, Newton said.

He also said e-cigarettes with nicotine were initially legally available, but Health Canada recognized potential regulation issues.

kevin murray manager of vancouver city cigars smokes a disposible vapour system

Kevin Murray smokes in front of a cigar counter. Photo by Ali Crane

E-cigarettes are available to all ages.

Vancouver Coastal Health noted concerns over the availability of e-cigarettes to minors.

Dawar said smoking them could potentially indoctrinate youth early on into smoking culture.

Newton disagrees.

Bill Newton, an employee of City Cigar Emporium.

Bill Newton, an employee of City Cigar Emporium.

“I’ve seen far less people smoking whether it be an e-cigarette product or not,” he said.

“Young people are savvy. If they hear smoking is bad they will do a little research into it.”

Newton said that smokers deal with two factors that make it hard to quit. One, the nicotine addiction, and two, the habitual physical routine of using a cigarette. That’s what makes electronic cigarettes so popular.

Dawar said  the usefulness of e-cigarettes as a method of quitting is debatable.

“We obviously want smokers to quit smoking, tobacco is way more harmful,” she said.“However, the evidence around use of e-cigarettes as a successful quitting device is minimal at this point.”

Dawar recommends that people trying to quit smoking attempt nicotine replacement therapy, as studies into the safety and health effects of e-cigarettes are still ongoing.

Below is a video with Kevin Murray, showcasing how to use e-cigarettes to “The Province.”

You can read the story online at “the Voice” here

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