Imagine a product that could save you, your friends, and your family from having to suffer through the illness and potential death of a loved one due to tobacco smoke. Imagine that this product is safe for everyone to use. Wouldn’t we be foolish not to implement and promote it? While there’s no law against smoking electronic cigarettes in Canada, the device has, surprisingly, been met with animosity by politicians and consumers alike.
Last October, the City of Vancouver voted to restrict the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces. Following suit, the Ontario government passed a law in November to treat e-cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes. At this rate, it won’t be long before this product is restricted throughout the rest of the country. But these governments should withdraw their laws that ban public e-cigarette use, and should instead promote them as a safer, and even therapeutic, alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
While the medical community remains inconclusive on the safety of e-cigarettes due to a lack of evidence, a study published by scholars Zachary Cahn and Michael Siegel in 2011 states that e-cigarettes contain far fewer carcinogenic agents compared to their tobacco counterpart. The study also showed that few chemicals, if any at all, contained in e-cigarettes are a cause for serious health concerns.
A similar study published by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and his colleagues in 2013 noted that 42 per cent of participants quit their smoking habits during their first month of using an e-cigarette. With this in mind, anyone with an ounce of sense should promote this device as one that can help people drop the tobacco. As more smokers turn to e-cigarettes, more are likely to eventually quit their smoking habits altogether.
The e-cigarette allows users to mediate their nicotine dosage to a level that is just right for them.
Since they lack the harmful chemicals in tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs will also benefit those who wish to smoke in public. Because smoking is often a group activity that facilitates social connection, the e-cigarette, as a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), would allow the user to remain connected to their peers during social gatherings, and to smoke in a way that would not disrupt the health and comfort of passersby.
Having friends who’ve tried several NRTs, all of them preferred the e-cigarette because of their ability to easily control their nicotine intake. Nicotine is the psychoactive substance sought out by most e-cigarette users. The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies notes that NRTs, such as gum and the patch, vary in nicotine content, and their effectiveness in relieving withdrawal symptoms will depend on the users’ smoking history.
Thus, the amount of nicotine contained in a patch or in the gum may be too much for some smokers and too little for others — unlike other NRTs, e-cigarettes allow users to better mediate their nicotine dosage to a level that is just right for them.
Additionally, a February 5 article in Discover magazine cites research on nicotine which suggest the drug may have many positive effects, such as memory enhancement, improved focus, and resistance to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. With further research, nicotine’s negative effects may soon become overshadowed by its beneficial traits.
Given the current scientific evidence, one can confidently argue that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than regular ones. With this in mind, the city of Vancouver and other Canadian government bodies must consider retracting their legislative concerns, and should instead openly promote a product that has the potential to prevent the illness and death of millions.