The Liberals announced that they’ll be following up with new steps to regulate electronic cigarette use.
E-cigarettes vaporize flavoured fluids that typically contain nicotine and have been used as an alternative to tobacco in order to help people quit the habit. It’s not 100% safe due to the presence of chemicals that are sometimes used in the fluids but vaping has been found to be much less harmful than smoking. In fact 95% less harmful, and it’s helped scores of people quit tobacco.
The Liberals suggest that the use of electronic cigarettes is a “growing phenomenon” and that 87,000 Canadians will become daily smokers this year, many of those being youth. They want stricter regulations for e-cigarettes, which could mean that harm reduction in the form of a safer alternative for smokers could become less accessible.
The main concern expressed by the Liberals is they want to deter youth from smoking, citing that there’s been a 20% increase in youth and adult vapers combined, but statistics on youth increases in vaping aren’t reliable.
If the Liberals want to regulate vaping, they should look at production first. There aren’t very many rules that come along with manufacturing and it’s such a new technology that it’s difficult to know what the potential health effects are with any certainty.
There is a lot of questionable data associated with the assumptions the Liberals are making on this decision, but one thing that isn’t questionable is a person’s right to harm reduction measures that save lives even if those measures aren’t 100% safer.