E-cigarettes come with too many unknowns

Inhaling a number of chemicals, and not knowing what the effect may be.

Doesn’t really sound like a fun time.

But that’s what e-cigarettes are getting more and more people to do on a regular basis.

E-cigarettes are a small electronic device designed to look like a traditional cigarette. They even have LED lights installed in the tips so when a user inhales they light up like the embers of a nicotine cigarette would.

The e-cigarette casing contains a battery, and a cartridge that holds a liquid chemical solution.

This solution is vapourized by an atomizer and micro-chip system.

The user inhales the vapour.

E-cigarettes in Canada are not allowed to contain nicotine, the active drug in regular cigarettes. However, Island Health notes that devices containing nicotine have popped up in stores in Canada anyway, and are available on the Internet.

Because of the (supposed) lack of nicotine, some regard e-cigarettes as nothing to worry about. That’s not what our official health organizations say.

Health Canada, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have all issued warnings against the use of e-cigarettes.

Even so, there are no age restrictions on the sale of these devices.

So kids of all ages can legally puff away on e-cigarettes. Yup, even elementary school kids.

Naturally, though the producers may claim otherwise, these devices are being made so they’re enticing to young people.

“Both the marketing of e-cigarettes as a harmless product and flavours such as chocolate, candy and fruit increase the appeal of these products, particularly to youth,” reads an Island Health info sheet on e-cigarettes.

“Additionally, these products have negative repercussions including: inappropriate social modelling, an increase of smoking uptake in youth, undermining the efforts of those trying to quit the habit by renormalizing smoking behaviours and serving as a potential gateway to smoking. Studies are showing that use of e-cigarettes by youth is on the rise.”

Though they’re not allowed to officially make the claim in Canada, word of mouth is still that the devices may help smokers quit, though, once again, Island Health notes there is no evidence to support such a claim.

The health impacts of repeatedly using e-cigarettes are unknown, according to Island Health. That’s ominous.

So bravo to the school district in their move to ban e-cigarettes from their premises.

We also urge parents to investigate and consider if e-cigarettes are something they want their kids to be using.

There are just too many unknowns for these to become the latest thing everyone’s doing without some thought.