Electronic cigarettes legal in U.S., but not here

The Red Deer Advocate published an article on electronic cigarettes (e cigs) in the April 20 edition.

The Red Deer Advocate published an article on electronic cigarettes (e cigs) in the April 20 edition.

This article read like an info-mercial extolling the benefits of the product.

Members of the Central Alberta Tobacco Reduction Action Coalition (CATRAC) would appreciate the opportunity to present more complete information to inform the public about concerns regarding these products.

Health Canada issued an advisory on March 27, regarding electronic cigarettes — which deliver nicotine but are not a tobacco product.

Health Canada has determined that under the Food and Drugs Act in Canada, electronic cigarettes cannot be legally sold in Canada without prior authorization to do so by Health Canada.

That means the sale in Canada of electronic cigarettes is illegal until such time as there is Health Canada approval.

E cigs are shaped and look like their conventional cigarettes. They produce a vapour that resembles smoke and a glow that resembles the tip of a cigarette.

This is accomplished by heating the base substance, propylene glycol, which contains a liquid chemical mixture that may be composed of various amounts of nicotine and other chemicals, using a battery-powered device.

Nicotine is a highly addictive and toxic drug, and the inhalation of propylene glycol is a known irritant.

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.

There is no scientific information available as yet on the long-term health consequences of using these products.

The burden of proof that these products are safe for public consumption lies with the manufacturer.

Evidence must meet scientific standards established by Health Canada Health Products and Food Branch.

Electronic smoking products, including their nicotine cartridges, must be kept out of the reach of children at all times, given the risk of choking or nicotine poisoning.

Nicotine is hazardous to the health and safety of certain segments of the population such as children, youth, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with heart conditions, and the elderly.

Joey Leslie

Red Deer