Canadian Electronic Cigarette Market Continues to Boom but Scientists Still Debate their Safety July 30, 2014 12:40

As the use of electronic cigarettes in Canada and throughout the world continue to grow generating billions of dollars in revenues, legislators are planning to implement regulations and results from more and more research studies which are being published every month. However, the jury is still not sure either about their safety or as to whether use of e-cigarettes is the first step towards becoming a smoker.

A New York Times report published earlier this week highlighted the apprehension that the business is being taken over by the tobacco industry. The report also expressed fears that kids are being targeted with candy flavours and advertisements that feature celebrities or cartoon characters.

In the mean time, the not-so-reliable Daily Mirror published reports highlighting the possibility of the e-cigarettes exploding if wrong chargers are used. The report cited several examples to substantiate the concerns.

If you are not up-to-date on this new trend, an electronic cigarette consists of a battery, a cartridge filled with e-juice and a heating coil. Nicotine may or may not be used in the e-juice. The coil gets heated as it draws power from the battery and the heat causes the e-juice to vaporize. When you pull on the e-cigarette, the vapour is drawn through the wick. As there is no smoke, it is called vaping.

According to the proponents of electronic cigarettes, they are a better tool to help smokers quit their habit because vaping resembles smoking and it is possible to adjust nicotine intake. In Canada, electronic cigarettes can not legally contain nicotine e-juice. However, sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine and those that claim health benefits are not being closely monitored.

Health Canada has said in an email addressed to CBC News that conclusive evidence is not available as of date to prove that the benefit of e-cigarettes helping Canadians quit smoking tobacco cigarettes outweighs the risks involved.

For authorizing a vaping product, it is essential to prove to Health Canada that the product is of good quality and that it safe and effective. The Canadian Medical Association said in their Journal last year that this regulatory hurdle is one of the toughest in the world. The Association wants authorities to treat electronic cigarettes as a pharmaceutical product and not as a tobacco product.

Domination of the Tobacco Industry

A key issue currently being debated by scientists is whether vaping products would serve as a gateway to smoking. The medical community fears that an e-cigarette is like a Trojan horse. It will help the tobacco industry to undo the progress made in reducing the prevalence of smoking over decades. The editorial in the journal also points out that the tobacco industry would have a better future in places where e-cigarettes are doing well. They do not help to replace use of tobacco.

In the U.S., the e-cigarettes industry is dominated by Lorillard Tobacco Company. This company is being purchased by Imperial Tobacco. This means that they would have a better reach in the U.K as well as in Canada.

A director of British American Tobacco that sells Vype e-cigarettes, Kingsley Wheaton said in the British documentary named "The Rise of the E-cigarette" that an electronic cigarette is a safer alternative to smoking a tobacco cigarette.

As many as 53 specialists from the field of public health sent letters to the World Health Organization and argued that e-cigarettes could be of help in tobacco harm reduction. According to them, nicotine is ingested in non-combustible form in vaping and hence toxic gases do not enter the lungs as in the case of tobacco cigarettes.