Going Electronic: Vaping is the new Smoking
by Darby on February 2, 2015 - 4:13pm
Electronic cigarettes or E-cigs have gained popularity over the past few years. People can be seen vaping all over Montreal; including in restaurants, on buses, in the metro, and public parks. They emerged on the premise that they are a safer alternative to traditional smoking and that they provide a means for people, even life-long smokers, to quit. However, the public has not been quick to shout success. Many people question e-cigarettes, wondering just how safe they truly are.
First of all, contrary to popular belief, some e-cigarettes do contain nicotine. In fact, a recent study conducted by l’Université de Montréal discovered that only one-third of the e-cigarettes labelled “nicotine-free” were actually free of it. In addition to this, Health Canada has not authorized the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, making their sale illegal.
Furthermore, there is also a founded fear that e-cigarettes will become a gateway to traditional smoking for youth. The Canadian Cancer Society released a study last August suggesting that 34% of high school students have tried e-cigarettes, 18% of whom had never smoked a traditional one. E-cigarette companies are marketing their products towards youth by offering 160 different flavours that appeal to them; Happy Berry, Raspberry Explosion and Banana Cream Pie. Mélanie Champagne, a director with the Canadian Cancer Society stated that “many parents tell us that their children are trying out these products for fun, to imitate adults”. The worry with e-cigarettes is that youth will try them and become addicted to nicotine. We do not want to re-normalize smoking either.
However, despite the bad press, e-cigarettes do have a positive side. In fact, many life-long smokers are successfully kicking the habit thanks to e-cigarettes. The Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette told reporters on Tuesday January 20th that “electronic cigarettes are a means to quit smoking that is clearly extraordinarily efficient”. In addition, many doctors are backing the product since cancer is caused by the chemicals in cigarettes which e-cigarettes have in lesser quantities or do not have. Thus, e-cigarettes would be safer than traditional cigarettes. Therefore, doctors believe that e-cigarettes should not be restricted as they have potential to cut disease and death caused by smoking. Every year, 5 million people die from smoking-related diseases and we cannot afford to ignore the potential benefits e-cigarettes could have on these numbers.
It is my sentiment that the best course of action here would be to push for regulation of e-cigarettes. As a society, we need to let the government know that this is an issue we care about. Regulation of e-cigarettes to me would mean that they be regulated just like traditional cigarettes. In order to protect youth, they should not be sold to minors and should not be allowed in public spaces. However, they should be made legal so that those who wish to quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes can.
Smoking used to be a huge problem in our province until it was regulated. It is no longer a societal norm to smoke. However, if e-cigarettes are not controlled, there is a risk that this could happen again.
We all have a part to play in the fight against smoking and protecting our youth. I would recommend that smokers consider trying e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking. I personally know people for whom it has been successful. In doing so, not only would you benefit your own health but you would set a good example for minors. I would also ask that anyone smoking or vaping refrain from doing so in public spaces. It is a simple step that can make a lot of difference. It will prevent youth from seeing smoking and vaping as normal. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your lives but these are my recommendations. Change does not happen alone; we all need to make individual actions, working together towards a greater purpose.
Personally, I believe that e-cigarettes have the potential to be great. They can and do help people quit smoking. This in itself is a great feat and I do not think we should lightly set this fact aside. Banning e-cigarettes all together is not the way to go. We need to be supportive of our fellow citizens who are trying to change their lives. However, I do believe that regulation carried out in the same manner as with cigarettes is essential. Regulation would keep the balance between the good and the bad of e-cigarettes; protecting youth and saving smokers.
I believe these sources to be reliable because they were written and published in the Montreal Gazette which is the primary provider of English news in Quebec. The Gazette has been around since 1764. I believe that they are reliable because of how long they have existed. If they were making errors or providing false news, they would have failed long ago. However, after doing some more digging, I began to question the reliability of the Gazette as they do not make the information regarding their journalists forthcoming. I could not find any information on their website regarding the qualifications of their journalists or their history. I feel that this information should be made more present by the Gazette in order for the readers to know who exactly has written the pieces they are reading. I did manage to find information about Geoffrey Vendeville on his professional website. I believe he is a reliable source as he has graduated Concordia University in Journalism and has worked with several other newspapers other than the Gazette.
This news summary summarizes three different articles from the Montreal Gazette. I found that each article was either very one-sided for or against electronic cigarettes so I summarized all three in order to get a well-rounded view of the situation.
To access the original article, “Quebec Wants to Outlaw Sales of E-Cigarettes to Minors”, written by Michelle Lalonde on August 15th 2014, follow this link: http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec-wants-to-outlaw-sales-of-e-cigarettes-to-minors
To access the original article, “The Burning Question: Are E-cigs Safe”, written by Charlie Fidelman on June 26th 2014, follow this link: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/the-burning-question-are-e-cigs-safe
To access the original article, “Vaping Helps Kick Cigarette Habit: Barrette”, written by Geoffrey Vendeville on January 21st 2015, follow this link: http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/health-minister-says-vaping-is-a-good-way-of-kicking-cigarette-habit