New concerns after smoke clears

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No doubt the federal and provincial government have concerns about people’s health in discussing laws and regulations surrounding electronic cigarettes. The cynics among us will add that they’ll also be thinking hard about how best to profit from the sale of smokeless nicotine products.

It’s surprising some political pondering on the subject hadn’t arisen before, since these devices and their ingredients have been around for a while.

Apparently existing laws do not address this product – even though government departments have been trying to stretch laws to make them fit.

The owner of one of several stores in the province catering to this business reported receiving a cease-and-desist order earlier this week. Shai Connors of The End Vapour Shop in New Glasgow says the order from Health Canada claims the products fall under the Food and Drug Act and that sales require market authorization.

But Connors refers to an exception in the act allowing nicotine to be sold when it’s in a form to be administered orally, delivering 4 mg or less per dosage.

As provincial Health Minister Leo Glavine gets set to address grey areas with new legislation, part of the discussion includes possible health risks in a relatively new product.

As Connors points out, compared to tobacco – which delivers thousands of compounds as the smoke is inhaled – take away many of those ingredients to leave behind just the nicotine and it must be safer.

That certainly sounds logical, and as for testimonials, users who have taken it up and quit cigarettes say they feel much better. But health studies on any product are critical.

Glavine raises another central point: how do we treat e-cigarettes in regard to smoking in public after the long campaign to discourage tobacco use?

Another will be regulations that keep these products away from youth.

We have to keep in mind that nicotine is a powerfully addictive substance, so marketing of the products raises health and ethical concerns.

Organizations: The End Vapour Shop, Health Canada

Geographic location: New Glasgow

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