The Future of e-Cigarettes in Canada March 13, 2015 16:00
As of today, the e-cigarette industry is considered among the most profitable industries in North America including Canada. This is brought forth by the fact that, only four years ago (in 2010), they were nothing but obscure products that only made a total of $80 in retail sales in United States. Four years down the line, their sales had increased by over 2000% which is equivalent to $1.7 billion in retail sales. Although there is no data showing the growth of the e-cigarettes industry in Canada, a recent study - which was done in early 2015 shows that 20% of Canadian youth and 15% of the total Canadian population is either actively using or has tried using e-cigarettes. In addition to this, e-cigarettes have overtaken the prominence once held by the traditional tobacco cigarettes as the latter now stands at 16%.
There being no existing laws that address issues like who should be allowed to consume or sell e-cigarettes and where they should be consumed / sold, the government, which is being backed by prominent education and health figures is hastily trying to come up with a new legislation that will help regulate their consumption. Basically, this is because at the moment, anyone, even minors, is free to purchase and use e-cigarettes in both private and public areas. But then, according to the January 1, 2016 Ontario's Making Healthier Choices Act, e-cigarettes in Canada will start facing restrictions similar to those imposed on tobacco cigarettes. This is amid objections by supports and owners of the e-cigarettes industry.
Moreover, a lot of questions have been raised concerning the safety of e-cigarettes. There being no supporting data, most of these questions are in regards to the likely long-term effects that may come by after one has breathed in too much e-cigarette vapor. So although propylene and glycerin have been approved for oral consumption, no one knows what effects they may expose the lungs to more so after long and repetitive inhalation. Medical scientists worry that; the effects of e-cigarettes on the lungs may be the same as those of other substances that despite being safe for GI (gastrointestinal) tract are exceedingly dangerous for the lungs. Another concern is that the whole vaporization process adopted by e-cigarettes may produce chemicals, like formaldehyde which can be harmful to the body. Lastly, public health experts worry that making it okay for people to use e-cigarettes especially in public spaces may create a normality feeling that smoking in acceptable. As a result, their decades-long efforts of decreasing the rates of smoking especially among the youth may die out in an instant.
Despite all these worries, owners and supporters of e-cigarettes emphasize that there is nothing to worry about for according to a study done in 2014 by Harvard School of Public Health, only 1% of non-smokers have tried vaping. It’s hence clear that the bigger percentage (99%) of vapers is made up of current and/or previous tobacco smokers. This being the case, there's no way e-cigarettes can be as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes that these individuals were used to. More importantly is that a majority of these individuals use e-cigarettes to help them reduce their overall consumption of tobacco cigarettes. And, going by a quote by one of Canada's largest e-cigarette retailers, 'there's no way e-cigarettes can be as harmful as tobacco cigarettes for it is the tobacco cigarettes' mode of nicotine delivery that's responsible for the lung-related disease.'