Medical health officer seeks e-cigarette ban

Flavoured vaporizers feared kids' gateway to tobacco addiction

  • Jan. 22, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Paul van Buynder is the chief medical health officer for the Fraser Health Authority.

Paul van Buynder is the chief medical health officer for the Fraser Health Authority.

By Adrian MacNair

The rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes has prompted medical health officers throughout the country to call for restrictions in their usage.

Fraser Health chief medical health officer Paul Van Buynder said B.C.’s chief medical health officers met recently to discuss the topic of e-cigarettes and their largely unregulated usage in public places.

Nova Scotia’s health ministry has proposed to ban e-cigarettes from bars and restaurants, whether the devices are loaded with nicotine or just flavours.

“We’ve taken enormous efforts to stop smoking in buildings, parks, hospitals, schools and so on, and our current guidelines don’t address these,” Van Buynder said. “So, we have situations where children may feel that they can use these in a school ground.”

Worse still, Van Buynder suggested non-nicotine flavoured e-cigarette vaporizers could be a gateway to smoking tobacco.

He said flavoured e-cigarettes are clearly aimed at the teenage market and pose a danger to the progress made against smoking cessation.

“It’s going to make children used to holding cigarettes, sucking on cigarettes,” he said. “This is a very retrograde step and a huge risk to our tobacco control programs.”

Tsawwassen father Joe Braico was recently surprised to find how accessible they are to children when his 11-year-old son bought a $10 blueberry-flavoured electronic cigarette from a local retailer.

The boy decided they were “pretty cool” when one of his friends bought one and decided to get one himself.

The product, called eZee Cig, is a disposable electronic vaporizer replica cigarette with an advertised 600 puffs. It glows when the person inhales and then releases a realistic puff of smoke.

“The concern we have, besides our child trying to emulate smoking, is the lack of morals or common sense when it comes to the sale of such items,” Braico said.

The eZee Cig’s packaging says it is not a smoking cessation device, is not associated with any health claim and is not intended to be used with nicotine. Although the package states it is “intended for use by persons of legal smoking age,” it is not regulated under the Food and Drug Act by Health Canada.

Ezee Cig comes in flavours of blueberry, cherry, chocolate, grape, menthol, and tobacco.

E-cigarettes with nicotine delivery meant for smoking cessation are regulated under the Food and Drug Act and restricted to use for adults over the age of 19. But replica cigarettes like these remain legal for sale to minors.

Van Buynder said health authorities are working to pressure the federal government to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as other tobacco products, including vaporizers like eZee Cig.

“We want to make sure that all of our tobacco legislation – whether it’s municipal or hospital-based – changes in order to make it clear that we’re not interested in having e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine or tobacco or any other form available within our sites,” he said.

In 2010, Health Canada made it illegal for retailers to sell some types of flavoured tobacco in products weighing less than 1.4 grams.

The federal prohibition didn’t cover menthol and the Canadian Cancer Society says producers skirted the other flavour restrictions by making cigarillos slightly larger.

The society is urging B.C. to ban candy or fruit-flavoured tobacco products in a bid to protect children, citing a poll finding broad support in the province.

“We are urging the B.C. government to protect children from the predatory marketing practices of the tobacco industry and the products which, through their packaging and appearance, are aggressively targeted to youth,” said cancer society’s Kathryn Seely.

The group wants to ban all flavoured cigarillos, water pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes.

Seely said flavours like chocolate, peach, cherry and strawberry appeal to youth and reduce the harsh effects of cigarette smoke, making it easier for youth to experiment and become addicted.

She cited a previous national youth survey that found 53 per cent of youth tobacco users in B.C. – 30,500 students – had used flavoured tobacco.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

 

 

 

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read