Opinion: End special treatment for e-cigs
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it should be regulated like a duck. That’s the logic behind Vancouver Coastal Health’s call for an e-cigarette ban, and it makes sense.
VCH is asking municipalities to extend their existing smoking bylaws to cover e-cigarettes, and it wants school districts to ban them from school property.
Currently, anyone can buy them and they can be used anywhere.
What’s in an e-ciggy?
The devices replicate regular cigarettes in look and feel, but they come in novel flavours and produce vapour rather than smoke each time the user takes a pull – hence the term “vaping” instead of smoking.
What’s unnerving is that nobody knows what the long-term health consequences are yet.
Like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes are filled with hard-to-pronounce chemicals and carcinogens, including a toxic antifreeze ingredient called diethylene glycol, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
VCH isn’t demanding an all-out e-cigarette ban. It just wants to protect people in public spaces from being forced to take the risks that e-cigarette users do.
When it boils down to it, it’s about respecting other people’s space.
There’s nothing to prevent someone from vaping on the bus, for example. It’s inconsiderate, but that doesn’t always factor into people’s decision-making process. That’s where regulations kick in.
Optimists say e-cigarettes can help smokers kick the habit. The devices replicate the sensation of lighting up even though the nicotine dosage can be as low as zero.
The science isn’t in yet
There’s no scientific consensus that e-cigarettes actually help curb nicotine consumption, but it’s worth knowing that Big Tobacco promotes some of the best-selling e-cigarettes: Camel, Marlboro and Newport are behind Vuse, MarkTen and Blu, respectively.
Do you really believe they want to help you quit?
Even in the best-case scenario where e-cigarettes encourage smoking cessation, that benefit isn’t diminished by restricting vaping in certain areas.
Some might say VCH is encouraging paranoia, but I’d say they’re advocating for fairness.
Reported by Tricia Lo