New Glasgow business part of electronic cigarette debate

Adam MacInnis
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Owner says she is doing nothing illegal

The End Vapour Shop owner Shai Connors says she’s not a criminal. She’s a vaper.
A “vaper” is a person who uses electronic cigarettes. The electronic cigarettes use liquid, which may or may not contain nicotine.

Connors says the device helped her switch from tobacco cigarettes and now she wants to offer the same to others. With hazy laws and little long term scientific knowledge surrounding the devices, however, the New Glasgow business has found itself rolled up in a debate over the electronic cigarettes that has ignited conversation across the province about the safety and laws (or lack there of) surrounding the devices.

While proponents of the battery powered devices say they are a good alternative to tobacco cigarettes and that using them has made the feel healthier, opponents say there are still risks associated with the nicotine used in the devices and much is still unknown about the long term effects of using them.

Connors has been selling electronic cigarettes since August, but just this week received a Cease and Desist order from the National Department of Health.

She said the letter was not unexpected since she had been warned by other vendors that have received similar.

“I was wondering what took them so long,” she said.

The order cites information from the Health Canada Public Advisory on March 27, 2009.

It states that although these 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, the letter states.

Connors makes it very clear that she isn’t advertising vaping as a way to quit smoking, simply an alternative.

“If you’re looking for cessation, go see a medical professional,” she says.

But she does believe it is safer because it doesn’t include the other ingredients included in tobacco.

“I’m not saying it’s safe. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a physician I can’t make those claims,” she said. “But you remove one ingredient from a tobacco cigarette, it becomes safer.”

Her customers attest to her product.

Bonnie MacDonald says she had a heart attack in August and turned to the electronic cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco.

“If I didn’t have these I’d still be smoking, and I’d be probably down to Halifax having more stints put in,” she said. “That’s why I don’t understand why Health Canada isn’t jumping on this because of the health benefits. I don’t take puffers any more for my lungs. I don’t take stomach medication for acid reflux, all because I’m not smoking cigarettes.”

Mason Campbell, says it only makes sense to him that vaping would be better than smoking.

“It changed my life,’ he said. “I used to smoke over a pack a day every day of my life. The first day I was on this without having a cigarette in my lungs I felt totally different right then and there.”

According to the letter from Health Canada, electronic smoking products fall under the scope of the Food and Drugs Act, which they say require market authorization before they can be imported, advertised or sold.

Connors however says that Food and Drugs Act which states that an exception in which nicotine can be sold is in a “form to be administered orally by means of an inhalation device delivering 4 mg or less of nicotine per dosage unit.”

“There is absolutely no law. That’s the thing, I’m fully compliant as per the laws.”

She says she is going to ignore the letter and continue to provide her product to the approximately 5,000 people who shop at her store.

“I’m not breaking the law so there’s no reason why I should close.”

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  • DT_Jesus
    December 10, 2013 - 17:07

    You have to wonder, if they (the government) are going to put a 'cease and desist' on E-Cigs, shouldn't they be putting the same on all the other stores that sell Cigarettes? I mean, all the studies have already shown that cigarettes are bad, very bad, and yet they are still sold in stores and simply put in a place where they can't be seen. It's like everybody has already said, if the government and big business can't make money off it OR if it causes them to lose money, then it can't be allowed. With all the technology out there, immediate studies can be done very fast to determine whether or not there are any major potential issues health wise. They just don't want to prove that there is nothing wrong with them so they won't do the research on it...they already one form of cigarette that they make mad cash off of, to hell with anything else.

  • John Doe
    December 05, 2013 - 22:47

    Nicotine is not harmful, as a matter of fact caffeine is more dangerous. Folks need to do their research. The whole issue about ecigs is about re-normalizing the act of smoking and the loss of revenue to big tobacco, big pharma and government. Nothing more!

  • iain macgowan
    December 05, 2013 - 13:26

    i started vaping in the U.K, and it helped me quit smoking once and for all; when i hear stories like this i wonder if it is because the goverments of the world make so much revenue out of snokers? in the U.K they are looking to control vaping by putting it on prescription so they can make more cash that way! so in conclusion if its good for you and can help you quit the demon weed but no tax benefit is available then big brother wont allow it???

  • Kim Murray
    December 05, 2013 - 12:52

    My Husband and I have switch to the "Vape" after 40yrs of smoking Cigs!! We both feel fantastic and will not be going back to " real smokes" Not only is our health improving big time...we are also saving soooo much money!!! That could be why the Tax Man does not like it LOL x

  • Ken H.
    December 04, 2013 - 14:32

    Another fine example of the puritan do-gooders at work telling you what's best for you. Vapar is made from VEGETABLE OIL, with a tiny drop of nicotine the equivent of 1 smoke, IF you choose to buy a bottle with nicotine, most are just flavoured. It's NO smell, NO smoke, just like seeing your breath on a cold day. There are 1000's of these shops, but once again, only Nova Scotia whines and bows to the whims of a few. The only other reason is the taxman hasn't fiqured out how to get it's 500% tax of it yet like they do a pack of smokes, yes, it's 500%! on a pack of smokes sold here for almost $17, ABOUT 14 of that is tax. Obesity and it's related illnesses is the biggest drain on healthcare dollars, do you see them charging you $17 for a hamburger or pint of ice-cream or any other fatty foods and hiding all the fast food menus or food isles at Sobey's so you have to guess what's for sale? Of course not. It's pure do gooder politically correct nonsense shoved down our throats time and time again. This girl has poured all her money into opening a business to provide a service to a LOT of people trying, or have succesfully quit smoking, of course downtown New Glasgow will do everything in it's power to drive new business out. Pretty soon the do gooders will have us all stay home in a bubble wearing a hard hat and forbidden to go outside in case we hurt ourself, or make a free will choice. Coffee is full of carcinogins, are they gonna shut all the coffee shops down and ban or tax the crap out of it? Imagine the outcry then!

    • Scott
      December 05, 2013 - 19:41

      It's actually more then 500%. The BT get's about $0.50 - $1.00 per pack. Everything else is tax. More like 1600% - 3300% ROI to our wonderful government. Death and Illness is good for business it seems ... I quit smoking 2 years ago, starting vaping and will NEVER go back to analogues. Once you try it, you won't go back. It's that good ;)

  • Denis
    December 04, 2013 - 13:26

    HC is a smart business that thrives on power and greed.

  • bev turple
    December 04, 2013 - 12:23

    my husband and I have been using the electronic cigarettes for over 2 years now. We feel better, don't have that horrible smell, and don't have the cost of 3 packs a day. We are loyal customers of the end vapor shop and will continue to be. It seems to me that if the department of health is so worried about people, maybe they should ban the sales of cigarettes. But then they wouldn't have the tax money associated with it. Basically I believe it all boils down to the government getting their piece of the pie.

  • Kevin Braun
    December 04, 2013 - 10:53

    Congrats to this Vape Store! The Media should maybe do a spot on this store as well and give a bias opinion! go to a Public space where everyone smoke and then walk into a Vape Shop and telll us the difference. Its all about Educating the masses. Health Canada is talking for Pharma and stretching for what it calls law. Pharma is loosing to much money with this type of product is what it comes down to. What is going to happen when someone calls Health Canada out on this in court. why do you all think its just a letter cause they know its not just cause to a cease and desist order

  • ARLENE McILRAVEY
    December 03, 2013 - 23:44

    I QUIT SMOKING USING THE ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE AND FOUND IT TO BE GREAT. ALSO A FRIEND OF MINE IN HER LATE 70 HAD TO QUIT AS SHE HAD EMPHYSEMA AND LUNG CANCER. SHE WENT NUTS TRYING TO QUIT AND NOW SWEARS BY THE ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE

    • KIM
      December 04, 2013 - 10:03

      I AM ON OXYGEN 24/7 NOW AND I USE THIS IT IS THE BEST WAY TO SMOKE IF YOU HAVE TO STOP .I LOVE VAPING SMOKES

    • Kevin Braun
      December 04, 2013 - 10:42

      I have converted over to vaping as well, was a smoker of 1-2 packs a day and havent had a smoke in over 6 weeks now due to the use of an e-cig , the thing is to become knowledgeable in what you are buying and your suppliers when it comes to e-cigs. Personally I am happy this owner stood up for her rights to sell these. Health Canada needs to wake up , it is just Pharma thats acting out and screaming as they are loosing money too this product. Happy Vaping !

  • Elaine KEller
    December 03, 2013 - 23:29

    Perhaps Health Canada should consider changing its name to Anti-Health Canada. Apparently (A)HC is unfamiliar with all of the research showing that the long-term effects of continuing to smoke include lung disease, hear attacks, strokes, and cancer. (A)HC should talk to several of the former smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes instead of smoking and ask about their health. Better yet, ask their doctors about changes in their patients' health since switching. And as far as the nicotine poisoning red herring goes, exactly how many Canadian e-cigarette users have been hospitalized for overdosing on nicotine? I'll bet the number matches the cases of nicotine OD due to using a pharmaceutical nicotine inhaler (i.e. zero.)