In appears the Canadian Lung Association may be re-thinking it’s stance on electronic cigarettes. The publicly funded health organization has put out multiple press releases warning Canadian smokers about the potential risks of “vaping”. In an article released January 21st, 2013 named “Don’t Be Fooled By E-Cigarettes“, Margaret Bernhardt-Lowdon, a tobacco issues spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association stated:
“Don’t be fooled by e-cigarettes. These electronic devices could be potentially harmful to lung health and are not an approved quit smoking aid by either Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,”
But in an article by Carly Weeks from the Globe and Mail named “Could E-Cigarettes Save Smokers’ Lives? Some Health Advocates Think So“, the CLA seems to be reconsidering their prior objections to the new technology:
“I think we owe it to the five million Canadians who are addicted to tobacco products. If there’s a product out there that may have some merit to bring down those numbers, we have to look at it,” – Jennifer Miller, vice-president of health promotion with the Lung Association.
It is a promising sign for all Canadian smokers and vapers. And although it is not an outright endorsement, it does give hope that public health advocates in Canada are starting to consider the science behind electronic cigarettes, rather than the hype.
Since the beginning of the e-cigarette debate over their safety and effectiveness to help smokers quit the habit, there have been those on both sides making claims. On one side there are many e-cigarette companies marketing the product as a “healthier way to smoke” and that they can help users quit smoking. And although the evidence is pointing to these conclusions, it is hard to deny that these claims may be premature. On the other hand, those against electronic cigarettes tout that e-cigarettes may be as, or more, harmful than tobacco cigarettes. They claim they are full of antifreeze and that they are marketed directly to children. These misleading statements about the potential dangers of electronic cigarettes do little to help smokers the actual difference between the two recreational products.
So here are the facts as we know them today: All surveys and studies done to date show evidence that e-cigarettes are at least as effective as NRTs in helping people quit smoking. However no one has completed the required clinical trials for the FDA to be able to make this claim. And no one likely will, since the e-cigarette has been deemed a tobacco product in the United States by the courts, rather than a NRT. As for the anti-freeze claim, the FDA did find trace levels of diethylene glycol in one companies e-cigarettes a few years ago. It was not found in any other companies products and wasn’t found in all samples. Yes, regulations to ensure only food grade ingredients are used are important, but to claim all e-cigarette users are inhaling toxins is absurd.
The Guardian recently published an article entitled “Watch out, e-cigarette smokers – you’re inhaling the unknown“. And in the article the author, Tom Riddington, states.
With a little research, it is clear that we do not know the risks of using e-cigarettes long-term, and the potential for harm is significant. Until the same regulations as other nicotine replacements are imposed, e-cigarettes should be considered a snake-oil gimmick that could get a new generation hooked on nicotine before their first smoke.
This is where the double standard comes in. When a Nicotine Replacement Therapy product is introduced, the FDA looks at what is in it and whether or not it is effective in helping users quit smoking. They test it for 6 months to ensure no other problems arise. However 6 months is a far cry from knowing the long term effects. So why should e-cigarettes be held to a higher standard than FDA approved nicotine products? And e-cigarettes have been used in the US since 2007 with no major side effects reported.
As for getting kids hooked on the product, what about flavors of nicotine gum? Or just the fact that they put nicotine into gum, which is a kid favorite to begin with.
In conclusion, it is very much possible to also write, “With a little research, it is clear that we do not know the risks of using nicotine gum long-term, and the potential for harm is significant. Until different regulations are imposted, nicotine gum should be considered a snake-oil gimmick that could get a new generation hooked on nicotine before their first smoke.”
We are pleased to announce a new discount code from the leading e-cigarette website in Canada, SmokeInstead.ca. The discount code is for 15% off any and all products available on the site. This includes starter kits such as the Aurora PV One or the Joyetech eGo-T . It can also be used to purchase additional cartridges, e-liquid or electronic cigarette accessories. The only restrictions for the discount code is that a minimum order total of $50 must be reached and the code can only be used once per customer.
All orders from SmokeInstead.ca ship from Manitoba Canada so no customs issues are encountered for Canadian customers. This is a big plus considering Health Canada’s stance on electronic smoking products.
To use the e-cigarette discount code, simply type in “15percent” without the quotes into the discount code field when checking out. The discount will then be applied to the order. Please note the code is only available until the end of March, 2013.
In an article published in the Vernon Morning Star out of Vernon B.C., Doug Rogers, a substance abuse prevention counsellor with the Vernon School District urged smokers to avoid electronic cigarettes. And although we understand why a substance abuse counsellor for a school would promote abstinence, we have some concerns about Doug’s disregard for facts. He failed to recognize any actual data on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, the only data he cited to stay away from vaping was a warning put out by the FDA. In the article, Mr. Rogers states:
When the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances (carcinogens).
While this is not completely false, it is certainly not the whole truth. For instance, the amounts of carcinogens found in e-cigarettes were similar to those found in nicotine gum. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if Mr. Rogers didn’t state:
If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, please talk to a health professional about smoking cessation programs which are safe and effective.
As most smokers and smoking cessation experts know, approved quit smoking methods include nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, cold turkey, and even medication. It is hard to consider the writer credible when he promotes one method of quitting smoking with potential hazards while dismissing another.
The bottom line is that many smokers who want to quit smoking have tried many of the available options. But when all attempted methods of quitting smoking fail, is using an e-cigarette not better than smoking?
In a press release put out by the Canadian Lung Association named “Don’t Be Fooled By E-Cigarettes!”, they make arguments against smokers in Canada trying electronic cigarettes. Here is a look at what claims they make:
1. “People who use e-cigarettes inhale unknown, unregulated and potentially harmful substances into their lungs,”
First, let’s point out that tobacco smokers inhale known cancer causing agents. It can be argued that since tobacco cigarettes can legally be sold in Canada that they are regulated. Does that make them any safer? But the biggest issue I have with this statement is that we do know what is in e-cigarettes. There have been multiple studies done on the contents of e-cigs. The ingredients in the e-cigarette vapor include propylene glycol, glycerin, water, and flavoring. Some also come with nicotine in them.
2. “E-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans including carcinogens and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.”
This is a reference to a FDA test done in 2009. This report was put out by the FDA in response to them being sued at the time by nJoy who claimed the FDA was unjustly seizing their stock. nJoy was victorious in this battle. Here is a thorough rebuttal of the FDA report. Also, in Canada e-cigarettes do not contain nicotine so they do not have the TSNAs present as those with nicotine may. As a side note, at the time the FDA knew so little about e-cigarettes that this was the picture they used when they released their “findings”:
For those what don’t vape, here is the issue: For the model of e-cigarette they show, you must take off the mouthpiece / cartridge before you plug it into the charger. They way they show it, the e-cigarette would not ever charge.
3. E-cigarettes have candy-like flavours that appeal to kids
Kids and adults alike enjoy flavors. As an example, vodka can be purchase with many, many flavors. Should be ban it?
4. There are many proven ways to quit smoking
That statement is true provided you buy into Health Canada’s definition of “proven”. Their list of ways to quit smoking includes Nicotine Replacement Therapies and prescription drugs. Find out just how successful smokers are in quitting smoking using these methods. They also fail to mention that NRTs do contain cancer cause substances known as TSNAs.
We only ask that smokers think for themselves, dig a little deeper into what they read, and make their own decisions about what is best for their health.
If you follow the new in the electronic cigarette world, you know that the FDA has been hesitant, to put it nicely, about the e-cigarette. They have attempted to block it’s market categorization of a tobacco product, unsuccessfully. They have attempted to deter smokers from using it using their own brand of science….with partial success. But with the court cases over and their mandate handed down from Congress, they will soon be enacting rules and regulations regarding the use and sale of electronic cigarettes. The specifics of these rules are not yet clear including the means by which they are available for sale, whether the regulations will encompass all parts of the e-cigarette (batteries, atomizers, cartomizers, e-liquid, bottles of e-liquid, etc), or even if they will be taxed similar to other tobacco products. Some industry experts are skeptical about how the FDA will proceed. As Bill Godshall of SmokeFree Pennsylvania states:
FDA issues notice of intent to propose “deeming” regulation by April of 2013 (to apply Chapter IX of FSPTCA to e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, shisha/hookah and other tobacco products not currently subject to Chapter IX regulations) “and to specifiy additional restrictions.”
Since the introduction of electronic cigarettes into the US market, many public health groups have went on the offense against their use. Arguments have ranged from “we just don’t know what is in them” to “they come with flavors so kids will start using them”. In recent months a new talking point has been taken up by anti e-cigarette organizations such as Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights, and the American Legacy Foundation. The new objection is one dealing with the social acceptance of smoking. They argue that electronic cigarettes continue the action of smoking and normalize it again, reversing years of anti-smoking propaganda.
But Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health has issued a blog post to offer counter points to the misleading information being presented by those organizations with a vested interest. In his post named Blinded by Ideology, Anti-Smoking Advocates are Widely Misleading the Public into Thinking that Electronic Cigarette Use is a Form of Smoking, he correctly states that “By definition, using electronic cigarette use reduces cigarette use. Far from promoting smoking, advertisements that promote electronic cigarette use are urging smokers not to smoke — but to switch to electronic cigarettes instead.”
Semantics aside, Dr. Siegel is correct; vaping may be like smoking in many ways, but IT IS NOT SMOKING! And equating it to smoking in order to apply the same laws to vaping and smoking, it unfair, unscientific, and helps no smokers. What it does do, is keep those involved in industries against e-cigarettes; namely pharmaceuticals and tobacco, in business.
These so called “public health” organizations should be ashamed of bashing e-cigarettes, a product in direct competition with the most deadly product on the market. If public health was their number one goal, e-cigarettes would be on their list of ways to quit smoking.
We have been in the e-cigarette business for many years now, in one form or another. And during that time one thing has been consistent – the inconsistency of puff count claims. Many e-cig suppliers make outlandish claims of “200 puffs per cartridge” or more. Although in recent years there have been some developments in cartomizer technology that have allowed for higher puff counts, the vast majority of electronic cigarettes contain far less puffs than advertised. This discrepancy may come from marketing hype or direct from a manufacturer who based their count on a machine test, which rarely indicated real world use. Below are some general guidelines to figure out how many puffs your e-cigarette cartridge should realistically give you. Please remember the exact puff count will vary based on the exact e-cigarette model and user habits.
If you have a three piece e-cig model such as the original Njoy or Smoking Everywhere then you likely have a cartridge that can be detached from the atomizer. Inside you will see a cotton wick to soak up and hold the e-liquid. These cartridges can be refilled multiple times and usually hold enough e-liquid for 12 to 20 puffs.
If you have a cartomizer style electronic cigarette, then the atomizer and cartridge are one piece. These “cartomizers” should really only be used once. Multiple uses by refilling them can lead to burning of the wick on the inside, which means you will be inhaling stuff as bad as tobacco cigarettes. Cartomizers hold more e-liquid than regular cartridges. Puff counts range, depending the on the actual size of the cartomizer, between 20 and 40 puffs. Many newer brands sold in convenience stores use this cartomizer system, including disposables.
The last style is a tank system. This is where the e-liquid is contained within a tank with no wick. Models range from the Joyetech eGo-T to those with “clearomizers” which is a tank system with the heating element enclosed within the tank. Tanks hold much more e-liquid than either cartridges or cartomizers. Normal puff counts range from 50 puffs and up, depending on the tank size.
We hope these general guidelines help you pick the right e-cigarette model for your needs and help you avoid being disappointed with purely marketing driven claims.
Here are our top reasons why we believe Health Canada has banned electronic cigarettes with nicotine and won’t let any companies claim e-cigarettes help smokers quit smoking. Please note these are made up and suppose to be funny. In no way has Health Canada indicated that any of the below reasons are factual…..although that doesn’t mean they are not 😉
1. If everyone in Canada was healthy, there would be no need for Health Canada.
2. First e-cigarettes, then e-joints.
3. Smokers pay taxes, taxes pay salaries.
4. There are not enough smokers working for Health Canada
5. They don’t believe vaping is as cool as smoking
Nonetheless, if you smoke and live in Canada, you can get e-cigarettes without nicotine and they work just fine!