University of Ottawa Professor David Sweanor Discusses Electronic Cigarettes in Canada April 29, 2014 07:22

David Sweanor is a fan of e-cigarettes, so he has just summarized his argument in four words: "It is not smoke"

The problem with smoking is the process of combustion that is needed to deliver the nicotine, so we will end up with this epidemic if we can get rid of this process, according to Mr. Sweanor – a law professor at the University of Ottawa who has worked for 30 years in the public health field.

The government-regulated and readily-available alternatives the chewing gum, nicotine patch, lozenges have not had the impact desired in the drive to stop smoking, according to Mr. Sweanor.

A lot of former smokers who meet Mr. Sweanor say that they swear by vaping, and they believe it is a suitable alternative to even quit smoking. Mr. Sweanor has met many of these former smokes in his travel to a conference with some retailers of e-cigarettes in Dallas, a debate at the Heart Institute of the University of Ottawa, and a conference in Toronto at the Public Health Association of Ontario.

Some people tell Mr. Sweanor that he has saved their lives. He also cites gloomy forecasts from the World Health Organization showing that one billion lives has been lost in this century because of cigarette smoking.

Cigarettes cause 40,000 death in Canada each and every year.

People are dying because of the smoke not the nicotine – but cigarettes' death toll is incredible.

There are lots of risks involved in inhaling the vapor of a cigarette, which contains nicotine, flavoring agents along with propylene glycol. However, Mr. Sweanor equates the actual difference between smoking and vaping to getting your caffeine fix from a little cup of coffee instead of just lighting up some tea leaves.

Things in this field will not be fixed anytime soon, according to Mr. Sweanor.

There is an $800 billion worldwide market for cigarettes, and most people do not want to smoke cigarettes anyway – private enterprise is just looking at this fact.

They are also figuring out the facts that they can help the world save billions of dollars in heath care costs along with millions of lives. Private enterprise also wants to give smokers what they need, so they can get rich and win a Novel Prize while they work hard on this vision.

A lot of heavy smokers in Ottawa do not have a real chance for somewhat quitting their smoking habits, so they are using e-cigarettes heavily, according to people who deal with smokers in shops.

Health Canada has taken an absolutist approach in banning these products, according to Mr. Sweanor. He also said they should have taken a pragmatic approach.

The same situation happened with venereal diseases, alcohol, illicit drugs, and diet, according to Sweanor. We also need policies that give us alternatives to deal with nicotine in a better way, says Sweanor. If smokers can consume nicotine in a less harmful way, then they would avoid many problems as well.

Smoking is a social phenomenon that we cannot prevent, so there must be a way of turning it to our advantage.