Russell Daikens is not alone. He wants Health Canada to end it’s ban on electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine. He smoked for 50 years at two packs per day. Quick math tells us he smoked about 730,000 tobacco cigarettes over this period….and that is at 20 cigarettes per pack, while many come in 25. But in January he found the e-cig and never turned back. The story appear in this news article on metronews.ca.
It’s not hard to see why Russell is an advocate for the new vaping technology. He is a retired sailor who’s health was obviously adversely effected by smoking. But now, Russell says “I’m done hacking and coughing, and haven’t touched a cigarette since.” But he, like other former smokers, is concerned about the supply of nicotine e-liquid for their e-cigarettes. Although none nicotine liquid and the vaping units themselves can be found online at such retailers as www.smokeinstead.ca, the nicotine refill liquid is banned. And those attempting to import across the Canadian border risk having Canadian Customs seize their shipment. Hardly seems far to those who gave up smoking. Russell speculates why Health Canada is against the new “smoking” product, “You’re up against Big Tobacco, and you’re up against the government, too, because they want their revenue.” The real reason may never be known, but let’s look at their current reasoning:
Although these electronic smoking products may be marketed as a safer alternative to conventional tobacco products and, in some cases, as an aid to quitting smoking, electronic smoking products may pose risks such as nicotine poisoning and addiction,” Health Canada said, in a statement.
Funny that Health Canada is worried about nicotine addiction when they authorize the sale of tobacco cigarettes, which have nicotine. They also approved many other products with nicotine in them such as nicotine gum and patches. And the concern over nicotine poisoning is unlikely. In fact it has never happened. E-Cigarettes have been used in North America for over 5 years without one case of nicotine poisoning. This is not to say it is a none issue. If a user where to drink a bottle of e-liquid with nicotine, it would be very, very dangerous. But banning (rather than regulating) e-cigarettes because of potential consumer misuse is analogous to banning mouthwash because of the off chance someone would drink it in quantities that would harm them. Reasonable regulation and labeling would seem to be a more logical course of action.
So will Health Canada re-consider it’s ban on electronic cigarettes with nicotine? It seems unlikely until someone ponies up the money to make it a pharmaceutical product. And even then, sales would likely be limited to pharmacies. For Russell’s sake, and for the sake of every other smoker in Canada, we hope Health Canada looks at the e-cigarette as a blessing, not a danger.