January 21, 2013
Canadian Lung Association: Don’t be fooled by e-cigarettes!
During National Non-Smoking Week (January 20-26, 2013), the Canadian Lung Association encourages people to quit using proven methods
(Ottawa) For National Non-Smoking Week, the Canadian Lung Association encourages people who want to quit smoking to use scientifically proven methods and to avoid gimmicky unproven methods, like electronic cigarettes.
“Don’t be fooled by e-cigarettes. These electronic devices could be potentially harmful to lung health and are not an approved quit smoking aid by either Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” says Margaret Bernhardt-Lowdon, a tobacco issues spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that are designed to look like and be used in the same manner as regular cigarettes. These devices contain cartridges that may be filled with nicotine, flavouring and other chemicals. E-cigarettes electronically vaporize a solution creating a mist that is breathed into the lungs.
Although not approved by Health Canada, they are readily available to purchase in Canadian retail outlets and from the internet. In 2009, Health Canada issued an advisory warning Canadians to not use e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are not proven safe
“People who use e-cigarettes inhale unknown, unregulated and potentially harmful substances into their lungs,” says Dr. Theo Moraes, a medical spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. “There are many nicotine replacement therapies approved by Health Canada to help someone quit smoking; the e-cigarette is not one of them.”
E-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans including carcinogens and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze i. In initial lab tests, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found detectable levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals in two leading brands of e-cigarettes and 18 various cartridges. ii
E-cigarettes have candy-like flavours that appeal to kids
The Canadian Lung Association is greatly concerned that e-cigarettes with candy-like flavours, such as chocolate and vanilla, are being marketed and sold to youth.
“We are afraid that e-cigarettes, if not regulated, may lead more young people to start smoking,” says Dr. Moraes, who is also a staff respirologist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “These products have candy-like flavours, which appeal to children and teenagers and can be bought by those under the age of 18. We are also concerned that e-cigarettes may lead kids to try other tobacco products.”
Many proven ways to quit smoking
There are many proven ways to quit smoking, such as individual or group counseling, stop-smoking medication and nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patch, lozenges, inhalers). “Many people think they can quit on their own, but getting counseling can greatly increase your likelihood of quitting and staying quit,” says Ms. Bernhardt-Lowdon.
Learn how to quit smoking
Watch a video on how to quit smoking
Send an e-card to encourage your friends to quit or tell friends that you’re quitting yourself.
Read the Canadian Lung Association’s position statement and backgrounder on e-cigarettes
About the Canadian Lung Association
Established in 1900,
The Lung Association is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs and advocacy on lung heath issues.
About National Non-Smoking Week
National Non-Smoking Week (NNSW) is one of the longest running and most important events in Canada’s ongoing public health education efforts. Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, its goals are to educate Canadians about the dangers of smoking; to prevent people who do not smoke from beginning to smoke and becoming addicted to tobacco; to help people quit smoking; to promote the right of individuals to breathe air unpolluted by tobacco smoke; to denormalize the tobacco industry, tobacco industry marketing practices, tobacco products, and tobacco use; and to assist in the attainment of a smoke-free society in Canada.
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For further information, national media representatives may contact:
Director of Marketing and Communications
The Canadian Lung Association
(613) 569-6411, ext. 252
i U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2009, July). FDA warns of health risks posed by e-cigarettes. Retrieved September 2012, from http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm173401.htm