I would like to comment on Jeff Conners’ article about e-cigarettes.
Mr. Conners leaves a very negative impression about e-cigs in his article, stating concerns such as social acceptability, encouraging children, and use in areas where cigarettes are allowed. After visiting the recommended quitnow.ca website, I can see that Mr. Conners is repeating the stance that has been taken by Health Canada.
Health Canada’s position seems to be based on the fact that, “At present there is insufficient data to evaluate the health risks to users from short- or long-term use of e-cigarettes,” and “Nicotine is a highly addictive and toxic substance, and the inhalation of propylene glycol is a known irritant.”
My first question would be, why have nicotine gum and patches been not only approved, but recommended by Health Canada as a quitting aid, but an inhaled version has not? Surely there is sufficient data that has been done on nicotine by now?
Yes, children picking up e-cigarettes is a concern, but he gives the impression that any child can get one, and this will lead to a smoking habit. E-cigarettes are still unavailable to people under the age of 19, the same as regular cigarettes.
Regarding the raising of social acceptability of smoking, I think Mr. Conners and Health Canada are reaching a little. Our society has gone a long way towards making smoking unacceptable, particularly in public. This can be seen by watching smokers shivering in the rain outside a workplace or shopping center, oftentimes looking for ashtrays that were removed long ago.
What I do know is what I see with my own eyes. I know of only four people that have picked up e-cigarettes. All four of those people were smokers previous to buying the e-cig, and all four bought it to help them quit smoking. Three of those four cases found it to be exceptionally good at helping them to break the smoking habit.
Not only are they free from cigarettes, but the whole habit is changing, requiring less and less time using the e-cig as well.
I have never been a smoker, but I have been around smokers all of my life, with many good friends and loved ones having the habit. Being around someone using an e-cigarette is a world of difference from a regular cigarette. There is no nauseating smell of smoldering smoke, no residue on the walls or their fingers, and their breath is clean and pleasant.
I agree that nicotine in any form is harmful and I am not advocating that anyone should pick up and use a harmful substance for enjoyment, whether it is an e-cigarette or a regular one. However, if you are trying to get off of a toxic, poisonous, cancer-causing, addictive substance, a switch to anything less harmful would surely be a better thing.