National Post: Tread carefully in regulating e-cig, NATIONAL POST
Letters: Tread carefully in regulating e-cigs
Tim Ireland / The Associated Press
Re: Province To Regulate E-Cigarettes, May 27.
Although Ontario’s Making Healthier Choices Act is crafted with the expressed purpose of promoting healthier lifestyles, its provisions governing the treatment of e-cigs have the real potential to promote tobacco consumption. Supporters of the bill’s restrictive e-cig provisions are wilfully ignoring a credible and established body of peer-reviewed scientific data showing the devices are a useful method of stopping smoking, with results equivalent or better than pharmaceutically produced products.
The initial concern e-cigs could be a gateway to tobacco smoking has been shown to be incorrect. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s data on youth tobacco use show an unprecedented decline in smoking as e-cig use has risen. Concern the devices are promoting nicotine addiction are unsupported — more than 90 per cent of young regular vapers were smokers. Non-smoking youth have only sporadic use and often use nicotine-free products. It’s likely e-cigs are diverting young people from smoking and preventing addiction. The provision to limit flavours is without scientific merit. Surveys show adults favour fruit flavours as they promote the switch from tobacco by providing a pleasant experience.
We need a better vision of leadership and a prudent reconsideration of this bill, as it relates to e-cigs, before this technology is smothered by regulations that are contrary to scientific data and the intended goal. We have an opportunity to promote health, dramatically reduce tobacco smoking and save health-care dollars, let’s not let it go up in smoke.
Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar, Toronto.