Health minister says legislation needed to govern e-cigarettes

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NEW GLASGOW – If it looks, tastes and is used like tobacco, Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine believes it should probably be treated like tobacco.

Mason Campbell, left, and Laurel MacLeod use e-cigarettes at The End Vapour Shop in downtown New Glasgow. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

Glavine, wants to see legislation catch up to technology when it comes to e-cigarettes.

Tobacco use and sale is currently regulated provincially by the Smoke Free Places Act and the Tobacco Act, but because e-cigarettes don’t use tobacco and don’t produce smoke, they don’t technically fall under the rules of either.

“It is an area now that is new, and we need to take a look at it,” he said.

An e-cigarette electronically uses a vapour which gives the user, or “vaper” as they are called, a dose of nicotine without the other ingredients included in tobacco. The e-cigarettes can also use juice without nicotine. Proponents say they believe it is healthier because it gets rid of some of the harmful ingredients in tobacco.

New Glasgow business The End Vapour Shop, owned by Shai Connors, currently is one of the main stores in the province that sells them and Connors has received an order from the federal Department of Health telling her to stop selling the product.

She says she will not close.

“I’m not breaking the law, so why should I close?” she told The News earlier this week.

While members of the provincial Department of Health hasn’t told the business to close, they have expressed concern about the product.

“This is a different product but what we are concerned about at the Department of Health is to see if in fact they do pose some health risks,” Glavine said.

Ontario is taking a lead in gathering research on the topic nationally, but Doctors Nova Scotia is also helping the Nova Scotia Department of Health look into it.

One area Glavine is concerned about is the fact that the e-cigarette can be used in places that ban smoking.

“Will this undermine the past achievements in establishing smoke free social norms?” he questions.

While e-cigarettes don’t produce second-hand smoke, he believes public use could result in an acceptance of nicotine usage, which is clearly an addictive substance. It has the potential to draw people deeper into addiction.

“That’s really one of the biggest concerns being put forth by those looking at the e-cigarette.”

The e-cigarettes can also be sold to minors.

After some more research is done, Glavine said he hopes to have something to introduce to the legislature in the spring.

 

IN BOX

What is an e-cigarette?

An e-cigarette, which is also referred to as an electronic cigarette, e-cig or personal vaporizer, is an alternative to cigarette smoking. The battery-powered device vaporizes a liquid inside the cartridge which can contain varying strengths of nicotine and flavours, which is inhaled. The exhalation resembles smoke, but is actually water vapour which dissipates within seconds. It is odourless, has very little smell and does not leave build-up on surfaces and fabrics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states the efficacy in using electronic cigarettes to aid in smoking cessation has not been demonstrated scientifically. They recommend that consumers should be strongly advised not to use electronic cigarettes until a reputable national regulatory body has found them safe and effective.

Organizations: Department of Health, New Glasgow business The End Vapour Shop, Nova Scotia Department of World Health Organization (WHO)

Geographic location: Ontario, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Tom Cousins
    January 09, 2014 - 08:27

    Niacin is oxidised nicotine and is added to breakfast cornflakes. Should that be banned as well? I've used e cigs to stop smoking and perceive them to pose a similar health risk to me and people sat at my table as my cup of coffee.

  • Daniel
    December 26, 2013 - 08:09

    E-Cigs are a global game changer for tobbaco nicotine addicted people like me and there are millions of people like me. I am a firm supporter of this product as I haven’t had 1 puff of disgusting cigarettes in almost 5 months as of today. I smoked for 30 years. That’s a milestone in all my attempts to quit over the years and I feel so great. I feel reborn and free. That is why I am making this post today. I maintain distance respect for non-smokers even though Vaping an E-cig is not invasive like a stinky putrid tobacco cigarette. Non-smokers should be supportive that we finally have something that works. This product took the stress out of quitting tobacco smoking for me, every tobacco smoker needs to quit those nasty Cancer sticks that control one’s life. Its nicotine that controls mostly really but this is a modern nicotine delivery system that works. There are thousands of success stories out there, I’m sure you know someone that smokes so spend some time and research it, there is a growing mountain of information about it, learn about it, you will hopefully encourage that loved one or friend to check it out. For the first time ever I feel this product is revolutionary for human kind to seriously cut down or ultimately quit tobacco smoking. This is a big business massive change that is sweeping the Globe as we speak. Quit smoking and Keep on vaping till your ready to quit that too. I’m doing just that and its working just fine thank you vaping much ! Oh and Happy Holidays !

  • ConcernedConsumer
    December 11, 2013 - 09:00

    Schedule F only determines if a drug needs to be perscribed. Nicotine is still considered an OTC drug and needs to be HC approved, as well any type of drug delivery form is a medical device so it needs to be licensed. All these regs were put in place to protect us. Do you want Joe in a basement/garage producing nicotine and ordering parts from who knows where to make these devices? Where's the quality control? I don't want to buy tainted products. As well, E-cigarettes do not have reputable scientific studies to show efficacy or safety and more importantly cessation (end goal). If a company was being honest they'd go through the hurdles of applying for a DIN and registering their medical device for the benefit of all consumers. But they aren't doing that so my BIG question is why not?

  • brenda
    December 08, 2013 - 18:53

    whats the problem no money in government pocket want people to stop smoking leave us a lone

  • Cheryl
    December 08, 2013 - 16:36

    In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion on advertising mostly unhealthy (and largely addictive) products, mainly targeting children and teens. That's ok right? I'm personally sick and tired of the double standards and the hypocrisy, where big corps get away with shoving toxic harmful substances down our throats, everything from food to cleaning products to materials to pharmaceuticals and more. The righteousness is nauseating. We are adults and we choose to use unharmful amounts of nicotine in a healthier way. We're no worse then coffee addicts, and better off then junk food addicts, alcoholics, antidepressant users, etc. We're a movement that will save the health care system a load of cash. I suggest you focus your energy where it's really needed and leave us alone. Oh but wait, too much money and power involved trying to control the big guys, so you pick on us for using a harm reduction device. We're doing just fine without you thank you very much. Also, can you please state one serious health issue related to ecigs, which have been used for at least 5 yrs. now? Come up with some worthwhile statistics and also please include the side effects of Chantix.

  • John A.
    December 08, 2013 - 15:30

    From my personal experience e-cigarettes helped me to stop smoking when all other options failed. Not safe!!!! Who said other wise but so is eating fast food and drinking alcohol. So please stop telling us what should we to consume and what not. Shouldn't be used by teenagers absolutely true, so penalize selling it to minors.

  • Kathy
    December 08, 2013 - 08:22

    A month ago I was a 2 pack a day smoker. A month ago I purchased an e-cig. Today I smoke no more than 6 a day and don't miss the ones I don't smoke. My e-cig is going to make it possible for me to quit smoking regular cigarettes. I already feel better for not having all those chemicals in cigarettes in my body. I have tried every method you can think of to quit smoking, Chamix, the patch, gum, cold turkey, hypnosis, I've tried them all. This is Plan H and it IS going to work. So to all who say it doesn't work to quit smoking cigarettes, I say for me, it WILL!

  • ex smoker
    December 08, 2013 - 08:04

    I smoked for 40 years and last January bought an e-cigarette to help me quit. I did quit and after 4 months gave up the e-cigarette too. The government's only concern is the money they are losing on cigarette taxes, they don't care about anyone's health. The long you smoke cigarettes the more money they make. That is why they want to regulate this, so they can slap high taxes on it because they are losing revenue very fast from people switching to e-cigarettes.

  • melody chard
    December 07, 2013 - 17:57

    E-cigs are a harm reduction product...not a smoking cessation device. Nicotine does not cause cancer. The other ingredients in tobacco are what causes harm, so if smokers want to switch to e-cigs to get proven health effects of nicotine, and ditch the killer toxins in tobacco, why would you want to try to force this new genie back in the bottle? A product that can save lives seems like it should be embraced. It is not a medicine, nor a medical device like ineffective stop smoking aids. People can choose to continue to use the nicotine, just like coffee drinkers choose caffeine over decaf! The benefits of nicotine are documented. The hazards of tobacco as well as the "safety" of a lot of those government approved stop smoking devices that are causing so much harm has also been documented. It boggles my mind that acurate scientic studies have been done and can be provided by respected people who have nothing to gain from the e-cig industry are being ignored. When did scientific proof become a moot point? So called health Agencies seem to have a different agenda than actual health of the citizens, and I feel that is a crime against humanity. Many people are looking at this real research and judging our governments accordingly when it comes to the misinformation that they are trying to vicously spread. In an age of information and technology, google can provide the truth scientifically, and we are no longer the sheep trusting blindly in a government caught so often in scandal.

  • Reaver
    December 07, 2013 - 15:47

    How about looking at the actual science of it, there have been study after study after study proving that these device are safe for both the users and the bystanders. These products have the potential to save MILLLIONS of peoples lives, and all the government can think of is how they can get a cut? And the question "Will this undermine the past achievements in establishing smoke free social norms?”. First thing, its not smoke, and we shouldn't be treating as such, its a healthy way of getting nicotine. Why are there so many problems with ecigs when everyone goes around with the gum, the patch, the nicotine inhaler trying to quit smoking. These devices are just as effective if not more. It just boggles my mind that the anti-smoking crowd says they want us to quit smoking and then when we find a way to, they want to grab the banhammer and regulate the ways we try to quit. So you want us to quit but we're not allowed to use this method to?

  • Stephen Murphy
    December 07, 2013 - 15:24

    Well Mr Glavin, if you do something to ban e-cigs, which I personally use and have not had 1 cigarette in almost a year, than you better include the nicorette inhaler because its the same thing with pretty much the same components except it doesnt produce a visual like e-cigs do. I really wish these politicians would do some research on their flavor of the month before they open their mouths. Just because you are supposed to be the voice of the people doesnt mean you are smarter than these people.

  • Rick Nugent
    December 07, 2013 - 15:13

    'E-Cigarettes' helped me to completely quit smoking cigarettes after more than 50 years of the habit and in my opinion (and others) are no more harmful or addictive than caffeine. Although I agree that there is some concern fro those unfamiliar with them, be very careful in how these health-improving devices are regulated.

  • Rick Nugent
    December 07, 2013 - 15:04

    'E-Cigarettes' helped me to completely quit smoking cigarettes after more than 50 years of the habit and in my opinion (and others) are no more harmful or addictive than caffeine. Although I agree that there is some concern fro those unfamiliar with them, be very careful in how these health-improving devices are regulated.

  • Lindsay
    December 06, 2013 - 18:42

    " The e-cigarettes can also be sold to minors." The End Vapor Shop owned by Shai does not sell E Cigs to minors. AND MOST other vendors do not either...maybe the government needs to put a regulations on the sale of all NICOTINE products to minors?! you can walk into any grocery store or drug store and purchase the patch or nicotine gum that is not behind the counter...and propylene glycol....well that is in a lot of products we consume anyway. Personally if the government is so concerned maybe they should just pay for testing and regulation of e liquids. E Cigs are saving lives and money for lots of users...maybe they are not 100% safe but neither is the air we breathe here in Pictou County...AND I dont see the government making a big deal about that :)

  • Lindsay
    December 06, 2013 - 18:42

    " The e-cigarettes can also be sold to minors." The End Vapor Shop owned by Shai does not sell E Cigs to minors. AND MOST other vendors do not either...maybe the government needs to put a regulations on the sale of all NICOTINE products to minors?! you can walk into any grocery store or drug store and purchase the patch or nicotine gum that is not behind the counter...and propylene glycol....well that is in a lot of products we consume anyway. Personally if the government is so concerned maybe they should just pay for testing and regulation of e liquids. E Cigs are saving lives and money for lots of users...maybe they are not 100% safe but neither is the air we breathe here in Pictou County...AND I dont see the government making a big deal about that :)

  • Jack parcell
    December 06, 2013 - 17:49

    Careful...agreeing with Johnny Smoke can be bad for your health.

  • no thanks
    December 06, 2013 - 11:41

    Great, look at this cozy picture. Two people dragging on a fake smoke giving the illusion of someone trying to kick the habit. Nice publicity shot to promote this to every highschool kid out there. Great marketing strategy as there is a built in target market...imagine the return to Brae as we muliply the unit cost by the number of potential teenagers.They can "smoke" fakes to look foolish, I mean "cool".Personally I hope I don't have to share my public meal with someone who may be blowing steam or s*** my way. Eating establishments take note.Don't roll the dice on losing families and non-smokers in your business by letting the avid puffers enjoy their fake fix. They can wait until dinner is done then head for the great out doors for some fresh "vapor". I mean air.

    • Paul Lowe
      December 07, 2013 - 15:20

      You really need to educate yourself on the topics you comment on.

    • Ryan
      December 07, 2013 - 15:29

      The same old story since 2009 from our good ole government folks! Here it is! "The safety and efficacy has not been tested" THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE! There has been as a matter of fact been numerous studies does by various anti tobacco groups and ecig organizations using 3rd party labs such as Enthalpy to test these devices! What really constitutes a reputable regulatory body??? The FDA... Health Canada? ... Controlled by the government? These guys are held up enjoying the tax dollars that's collected by tobacco sales! Isn't this as a matter of fact a clear violation of "Conflicting Interest"? Take away the tax dollars, take away the greed and do some ACTUAL TESTS. Since 2009, the government hasn't recognized this product to be a clear game changer in the fight against tobacco. Instead they want us to use pharmaceutical products that are taxed and government controlled. Do some real work, do real testing and put hard earned tax dollars towards the research for ecigs and maybe sound regulation, instead of working so hard towards something that really works! Do not even think of classifying this as tobacco! If this product gets banned, I know the government will have an uproar in teir hands.

  • Tamika Borden
    December 06, 2013 - 08:04

    I agree with Johnny Smoke on this one, tax envy is exactly what this is. If the government starts "regulating" these products, they will become so overpriced that people won't be able to afford it. There are no laws in place to shut down this store, and it's seen as a positive addition to our community by the majority of resident, smokers/non-smokers/vapers and non-vapers alike. For what it's worth Shai, you have my support! Don't be bullied (I know you won't anyway, lol) by these fear mongering politicians. After the research is done, then they can have their say. Inhalers aren't banned. People inhale liquid into their lungs all the time. Nicotine replacement isn't banned either, and you're allowed to chew nicorette gum wherever you like. I think this is just fear of the unknown, and fear of the number of people that are going to drop the highly taxed products the government makes money off of, and move to the less harmful, less taxed alternative.

  • Tim
    December 06, 2013 - 05:40

    Its understandable their concerns, however if they wish to educate themselves they should start by realizing that not all e cigarettes contain nicotine. In fact a majority do not. With that said, why do they not turn their attention to the obesity problem facing not only the province but Canada as a whole. Maybe they should look at making MacDonald's illegal. So are they really concerned about the health of the people they represent?

  • Ray Yeates
    December 06, 2013 - 01:49

    Ok ....it's time to make the connection after using a ecig for just over 60 days now and I have not had to have a smelly , dirty addicting cigarette and never to to have one for the rest of my life. 60 days ago I got my first electronic cigarette after opening my narrow mindedness and finally made a free choice to seek help and quit or die. I have advanced emphyzema and a spot on my lungs ( as yet undiagnoised) I believe in miracles and they come in many forms. The ecig is very simple...a battery connected to a tiny coil of wire, that heat up quickly ( like a toaster element) and this tiny coil is attached to a small chamber containing well know and approved liquids and flavors. The principal is the same as plugin deodorizers except for the liquids......This is what I found and they are legal with no control whatsoever. Fellow vapors arm yourself with the real truth , the facts and protest like hell. I'm not happy about all the deceit pumped out about ecigs by health advocates who allow know chemicals atomized and vaporized into your childs room your kitchen and even your doctors office...all over the place. here's just a touch of the real facts and underlying reason for approving one but not the other. You Be The Judge Basic ingredients in air fresheners typically include fragrances, aerosol propellants, and solvents such as mineral oil or 2-butoxyethanol and other glycol ethers. As fragrances, air freshener preparations often include terpenes such as limonene. A report issued in 2005 by the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) found that many air freshener products emit allergens and toxic air pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, terpenes, styrene, phthalate esters, and toluene.[2] A study in 2006 found that the prominent products of the reaction of terpenes found in air fresheners with ozone included formaldehyde, hydroxyl radical, and secondary ultrafine particles.[3] Toxicity Many air fresheners employ carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and known toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study of 13 common household air fresheners found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development. The NRDC called for more rigorous supervision of the manufacturers and their products, which are widely assumed to be safe: The study assessed scented sprays, gels, and plug-in air fresheners. Independent lab testing confirmed the presence of phthalates, or hormone-disrupting chemicals that may pose a particular health risk to babies and young children, in 12 of the 14 products—including those marked 'all natural.' None of the products had these chemicals listed on their labels. follow me on facebook and at facebook. com Vaping Kicks Ash!

  • Shai Connors
    December 06, 2013 - 00:31

    No reputable vendor would sell to a minor. I am self regulated.

    • Frankly Speaking
      December 07, 2013 - 16:36

      And may you soon be "out of business". Society has no room for your poor excuse for a "business".

    • Kay
      December 11, 2013 - 13:18

      @Frankly why the harsh comment? What exactly is shai doing against society? The electronic cigarette has saved myself, my mother and a few of my friends from a future of horrible health problems. Shai sells the products and said they don't sell to minors, why would you hope someone goes out of business? they are not hurting you. And as for everyone up in arms about indoor use, I only use my electronic cigarette outside and in my home. Even in - 30 I'm outside because I respect that other people don't understand electronic cigarettes yet. Also they do give off a scent, for me it's always a fruit scent, and it's unknown but unlikely if this may cause an allergic reaction for people.

  • Janice
    December 05, 2013 - 22:05

    If people are concerned about using addictive products in public places, then I also call for a ban on people being able to drink liquor in restaurants. It's just as addictive and not suitable to be seen as acceptable to minors.

  • johnny smoke
    December 05, 2013 - 19:58

    What I see here is a serious case of Tax envy, just collecting the H.S.T. is not enough for these vultures no siree they want to be able to price it out of the market so that it becomes another illegal item for teams of cops all dressed up like ninja's going around bashing in doors.For once the bureaucrats are caught at their own game, now instead of chasing private wine and beer makers they will be chasing smokers of vapour. It just does not get any better than this, not even at Disney world.