In spite of the indications that vaping may be helping reduce smoking in Canada, Canadian regulators and public health officials seem to echo the positions of their US counterparts. In Canada the general government position is that e-cigs are unproven and potentially harmful. Some say just as harmful as smoking. Next they always talk about the very popular gateway theory, which is also a media darling story.
Researchers at the University of Victoria wanted to get to deliver some clarity on the impact of electronic cigarettes and vaping. The researchers have been inundated with all of the standard anti-vaping arguments. They were probably expecting their study would confirm all that they had been hearing about the dangers of e-cigs. But, what they found went the other direction entirely.
Study co-author Dr. Marjorie MacDonald said that they were surprised by the results of the University of Victoria e-cig study. She said that their findings concluded that vaping is safer than smoking and that vaping is not a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Dr. MacDonald said that the gateway argument is “a very common thing that you hear among our tobacco control colleagues.”
In fact, not only did Dr. MacDonald and her study colleagues at UVic find that vaping is not a gateway they found that areas that ban e-cigs experience higher teen smoking rates. This finding was also the conclusion of a 2015 Yale vaping study.
The UVic study was a comprehensive review of 170 journal articles. The review of these articles resulted in four distinct conclusions:
There is no evidence that using an electronic cigarette makes a young person more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
It appears that vaping can be as effective as other nicotine replacements in helping people to quit smoking.
They found that second hand vapor, or vapour as they spell it in Canada, is less harmful than exposure to cigarette smoke.
Finally, the UVic review found that vapor is less toxic than smoke.
The University of Victoria e-cig research results were reported by the CBC. With new vaping regulations going into effect in Canada, hopefully the powers that be will take note. Vaping may be the greatest asset we have ever had in the fight to reduce tobacco harm. Regulators need to get this right.