This conference, we participated in discussions about E- Cigarettes, or “E-Cigs”. Used by some as a cessation tool, outside organizations are becoming suspicious about this new product. It quickly became clear that they are the current hot topic in Canadian tobacco control. We found it interesting that Europe caught the trend even faster.

So how do E-Cigarettes work? Basically, a little heater vaporizes the “E-Liquid”, which is then inhaled by the user. In Canada, E-Cigarettes are not allowed to contain nicotine. So why are they an issue you might ask? Well, there are two main reasons.

Many experts are concerned that E-Cigarettes will normalize smoking, and may even become a gateway to a socially accepted form of drug use, instead of a cessation tool. It should be noted that Health Canada does not recognize E-Cigarettes as a quitting aid. Imagine walking into a restaurant, seeing people “smoking” and nobody questioning it. As a committee, we discussed this as being a major future concern for Canadians.

The very scary reality that struck us is that we don’t know what this mysterious “E- Liquid” is. We know that something is being inhaled, so what is it? Since “E-Cigs” are not considered a tobacco product, the government is unable to control them and companies are not required to list ingredients. This also means that tobacco sale regulations do not apply, and companies are free to fully decorate and advertise their product.

Do you think these products could normalize smoking? What is this mystery chemical and how does it effect both the user and bystanders? Could this unravel years of progress made by tobacco control?

-Laura & Maggie