In a comment article printed in the National Post at the end of last year, Jesse Kline makes the argument for ending the ban in Canada on electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine. While I fully agree the ban is not in the best interest of the health of Canadians, there are a few issues with some of the facts and speculation made in the article. I thought it important to set the record straight.
First, some praise. It was good to see that people are realizing the ban on e-cigarettes in Canada is only for those products that contain nicotine. For some time many thought it was a general ban, but without nicotine or health claims Health Canada has little say over a product made up of electronics and containing no drugs. Jesse did fail to mention that health claims such as “quit smoking” or “healthy alternative” do bring Health Canada into the picture, but all-in-all he had it right.
Where he failed to do some research was the sentence: “The devices contain a heating element that turns a liquid made of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine (two common food additives) and nicotine into a water vapour,” In truth, the liquid or e-liquid as it is often called, is made up of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, flavorings, and potentially nicotine. But the big issue I have is “water vapour”. This is a common misconception. The vapour from an e-cigarette has been shown to contain the same ingredients as the liquid, although not in the exact same percentages, since the vaporization process does not effect each substance in the same way. This can be shown with some testing of e-liquid.
Jesse also claims there are no carcinogens in e-cigarette vapor. This is only partially true. Without nicotine, yes, there are no carcinogens. However with nicotine there are trace amounts. This is not a big deal when you consider BBQ’d meat has trace amounts of carcinogens, but none-the-less it was not completely accurate.
The last and most serious falsity with the article is from this quote:
A number of studies have shown that the illusion of smoking created by the device helps to satisfy cravings, but without nicotine, it cannot help smokers get over the physiological dependence that is created by the drug.
True, studies have shown e-cigarettes help smokers, but I have always found it curious that experts and users alike believe that it is important to keep using nicotine to get over the addiction to nicotine. Although in rare cases such as heroin addiction, other drugs are used to ween the addicted off the drug, it seems counter intuitive to keep using nicotine to get over an addiction to nicotine. What I would recommend to people is to quit smoking cold turkey and if they like, use and e-cigarette with no nicotine to get the action of smoking, if they still want it.
Overall we applaud Jesse Kline for speaking his mind and bringing more light to the issue of electronic cigarettes in Canada.