Electronic cigarettes worth a shot for those trying to quit?

One type of electronic cigarette

40,000 Canadians die every year because of it, 6,000 alone in British Columbia. With 15% of the population of Canada addicted, wouldn’t you say its time to quit? Everyday 5,000,000 Canadians are inhaling Arsenic, Ammonia, Lead, Hydrogen Cyanide, and Acetone into their lungs (a fraction of the chemicals that are actually being ingested). Not only that, they’re hurting those around them with deadly second-hand smoke; in fact 1100 Canadians die every year from second-hand smoke). Cigarettes have been around for hundreds of years, and finally there is a safe alternative to help wean addicts off the harmful substance.

Electronic Cigarettes have been on the market for a few years now, but have not been popularized and advertised as much as they should be. Electronic Cigarettes, or “E-Cigs”, are battery powered devices that heat up liquid solutions that give the user a satisfying vapour, much like real cigarettes; the only difference being the vapour is nothing more than harmless water vapour. E-Cigs come in strictly non-nicotine varieties in Canada, but in the United States E-Cigs can be purchased with nicotine. E-Cigs are becoming more and more easily found in stores across Canada despite not containing nicotine. In Canada, the smokers that are trying to quit but are orally fixated or are hooked on the act of holding, taking a drag, and inhaling a cigarette can find a similar if not “spot-on” experience with an E-Cig. Currently electronic cigarettes can be purchased anywhere from $5-10 dollars, each electronic cigarette containing 120 puffs which is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes.

Numerous organizations are fighting to bring E-Cigs containing nicotine to Canada, for they have been proven to help addicts quit much more so than E-Cigs containing no nicotine. One organization in particular, The Lung Association of Canada, used to hold a hesitant approach to Electronic Cigarettes because of the unknown long-term affects, but now that new evidence has shown that Electronic Cigarettes may be worthwhile. Another important figure speaking out for Electronic Cigarettes is Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the man who pushed and succeeded in banning smoking indoors and showed the dangers of second-hand smoke, is now part of the Board of Directors for “NJOY” (one of the largest Electronic Cigarette manufactures in the United States). With Electronic Cigarettes expected to surpass $1 billion dollars in sales this year in the United States alone, Carmona says, “With one in five American’s smoking, it is a disservice to the public who are looking for an alternative.”

In a small case study, consisting of 50 participants who had tried to quit smoking repeatedly but had failed again and again tried electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. The results were astonishing, not only did it satisfy their addiction but also it dramatically decreased the levels of nicotine in their bloodstream and the majority of the participants remained abstinent from cigarettes for at least six months.

Of course, like with all new products there are bound to be controversial speculation and negatives. Health Canada has issued warnings to those using electronic cigarettes that they can contain trace amounts of nitrosamines, a known carcinogen. Another point of controversy is the fact that electronic cigarettes may appeal to youth with the appeal of flavoured liquids like watermelon, cherry, or pina colada. In effect this could possibly completely defeat the purpose of the electronic cigarette, and could potentially turn youth onto cigarettes instead of away.

At the end of the day, cigarettes, which have been proven to kill people, are still legal in Canada; yet electronic cigarettes containing nicotine are not. We have to look at the situation logically: yes there are a lot of unknowns regarding electronic cigarettes, but they have been proven to wean even heavy smokers off the deadly substance. Hundreds, if not thousands of people, are dying each and every day in Canada, so wouldn’t it make sense to give them this much safer alternative? Cigarettes are deadly and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine are a safer alternative that the Canadian people deserve access to.