Electronic Cigarettes

E-cigarettes have the potential to help tobacco users reduce or overcome nicotine dependence. However, more evidence is required to confirm that they are effective smoking cessation aids. Meanwhile e-cigarettes are growing in use and popularity particularly among young people.

Evidence suggests they have the potential to increase youth tobacco dependence and contribute to the possible re-normalization of smoking in public areas.1,2 In fact, youth e-cigarette use in Alberta has tripled in the last several years. Alberta’s youth vaping rate is the third highest in the country with more than 35,000 kids using vaping devices.3 In fact, youth e-cigarette use has surpassed smoking among youth in Alberta.4

Evidence suggests that youth who experiment first with e-cigarettes are almost twice as likely to intend to smoke conventional cigarettes compared to those who have never tried either.5 While more research is needed to show a definitive link between youth e-cigarette use and an increase in tobacco use and dependence, the current evidence suggests that a precautionary approach should be taken.

Public health organizations are very concerned about the experimental use of e-cigarettes among youth and its potential to result in nicotine addiction and tobacco use. Health groups are also concerned about the potential renormalization of tobacco use that could result from e-cigarette use in public areas.

Student Tobacco Use in Alberta

Self reported past 30-day use by students in grades 6-12 6

Significant progress has been made in tobacco reduction due to reduced social acceptability which has largely resulted from smoking bans. Tobacco reduction legislation is being undermined by the public use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is banned.

In 2018, the federal government passed legislation that regulates the manufacturing labelling and promotion of both nicotine and nicotine-free e-cigarette products.7 However, the federal bill contains several loopholes that the provincial government needs to close to better protect Alberta teens from vaping and nicotine addiction. Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces that do not currently regulate e-cigarette use.

A handful of Alberta municipalities including Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer have included e-cigarettes in their smoking bylaws and are prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is currently prohibited. All Albertans should be afforded the same protection through provincial legislation.

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta recommends that Cabinet proclaim all sections of the TSRA pertaining to tobacco-like products and order the prohibition of e-cigarette use in indoor public places and workplaces.

Full text backgrounders

Footnotes

  1. World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Electronic nicotine delivery systems. FCT/COP/6-10 Rev.1. 2014. http://apps.who.int/gb/fctc/PDF/cop6/FCTC_COP6_10Rev1-en.pdf?ua=1
  2. Czoli CD, Reid JL, Rynard VL, Hammond D. E-cigarettes in Canada - Tobacco Use in Canada: Patterns and Trends, 2015 Edition, Special Supplement. Waterloo, ON: Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo.
  3. Health Canada. Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 2016-2017. June 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canadian-student-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey.html
  4. Health Canada. Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 2016-2017. June 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canadian-student-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey.html
  5. Bunnell RE, Agaku IT, Arrazola R, Apelberg BJ, Caraballo RS, Corey CG, Coleman B, Dube SR, King BA. Intentions to smoke cigarettes among never-smoking U.S. middle and high school electronic cigarette users, National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2011-2013. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. 2014 Aug 20. [Epub ahead of print] http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/youth/e-cigarettes/
  6. Cumming, T., Rynard, V. (2017). In Brief: Student Tobacco use in Alberta, 2014/2015 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. Waterloo, Ontario: Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo. Accessed June 2017: https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-student-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey/sites/ca.canadian-student-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey/files/uploads/files/cst14_tobacco_use_ab_20170515v5_a.pdf
  7. Bill S-5. https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/S-5/