Canada's Original Think Tank

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic Cigarettes
Health Care

Electronic Cigarettes


Published on 13 May 2014
Your Question Period by Senator Catherine Callbeck (retired)

Please press play to listen to the audio of this question. Please note that the audio is provided in the language in which the senators spoke. Senators may speak either official language in the Senate Chamber. For the full text of the translated exchange please click here.


Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck:

My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The question was submitted by Dr. Peter Glen, a surgeon at the Ottawa Hospital. It reads as follows:

In medicine there are few certainties; smoking is one: cigarettes are bad for your health. Given time, they wreak havoc on every body system, contributing to, if not directly causing, deadly diseases. Thus consider my surprise that two months ago I saw the unmistakable curls of smoke being emitted from the mouth of a patron at our hospital’s indoor coffee shop. I was gobsmacked by this brash act of defiance.

Then the double take. There was no odour, there was no trailing smoke from the end of the cigarette. This was an electronic cigarette. My unease was partly mollified, but not cleared. This after all was a hospital; surely this cannot be condoned?

Since that first experience the consumption of electronic cigarettes, affectionately titled “Vaping” by those who use them, has gained widespread media attention. The stories are written about these would-be-rebels testing the boundaries of their new pastime. Vaping on a plane (mid- flight no less), on public transit, in hockey arenas, in business meetings. I would not be surprised if soon we see a Senator Vaping during mid-session.

Health Canada has remained quiet on the status of the electronic cigarette. No government scientist, nor their political mouthpiece the Honourable Rona Ambrose, has given direction as to their status. Drug? Device? Fragrance? More importantly, are they safe? Do they habitualize smoking, or do they cure cravings and help tobacco smokers kick the habit? The vaporous cloud of uncertainty lingers.

Dr. Peter Glen asked the following questions:

What will be the fate of the electronic cigarette? Is now the time to establish potential health and societal consequences? Should children be permitted to use these devices? Should they be available only by prescription? And more, will the sale of nicotine-laced electronic cigarettes be licensed in Canada?

 

Please click here to read the full text of this exchange

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