Today several people made impassioned pleas to the Government of Nova Scotia to reconsider Bill 60. Among other things, Bill 60 is designed to put restrictions on vaping. Vaping is the use of devices (similar to the one shown above) which allows the user to inhale vapour created with either nicotine infused, or non-nicotine flavoured liquids.
The question is why? Where is the public outcry around the use of vaporizers? Where is the irrefutable evidence suggesting these devices are a public health menace?
The issue of vaping presumably is sitting on some desk deep in the bowels of Health Canada underneath a pile of other more pressing health issues. The federal government is dragging its feet on the matter and has been doing so for a number of years. The result of this public policy ambiguity is Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine inventing this problem, and the bill to solve it, which the government believes will stem the tide of youth smoking habits. The rationale apparently is e-cigarettes are somehow a gateway to adult smoking.
The smoking police, otherwise known as the Department of Health and Wellness, led by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert “Everything Fun Is Bad For You” Strang seem to have glommed on to vaping as the next great public health scourge, people trying to quit smoking by using, what they believe and what most real evidence points to, a product that reduces harm.
Strang has fallen lock-step into the position held by Stanton Glantz, director of the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Glantz claims, without a shred of evidence that young people will start vaping and then move on to conventional cigarettes. Once the nicotine addiction is set, users will eventually move on to a far more harmful, essentially outlawed and more expensive habit. For the record, e-cigarettes have been around for seven years and there is not a single study in existence that would verify this claim. It is an assumption, at best.
The other assumption being made is that vaping will discourage smokers from quitting by maintaining their addiction to nicotine. If that is the case, then nicotine lozenges, sprays, gum and patches should be removed from drug stores lest they keep people on cigarettes.
Anti-smoking crusaders have done the public a huge service by eliminating indoor smoking. Countless studies indicated second-hand smoke was a danger to those in the vicinity of smokers. It served to make restaurants better places to eat for non-smokers. Since that time, legislators have moved smoking to the peripheries of society. Huddled masses now light up 30 meters away from doors, away from outdoor patios and off school grounds to avoid the pollution of cigarettes. While smokers are banned from the sidewalks on Argyle Street, diesel fumes belch from trucks and heavy machinery with nary a thought, but I digress.
Caught in the crossfire of this ridiculous legislation is another group, the purveyors of the hookah lounge. Shisha, a mollases and tobacco based concoction has been smoked for centuries in Middle eastern cultures. They have become increasingly popular in the United States and Canada because the establishments have been able to get around normal smoking bans by serving non-tobacco products such as herbs and dried fruit in their hookah pipes. Recently however, the fun police have begun to look at this as another public health concern as hookah smoking, in spite of absolutely no evidence, is unhealthy and is another gateway to tobacco use. The water in the hookah pipe extracts most of the carcinogens, making it less harmful, yet public health views this as another gateway to smoking again with no evidence.
Perhaps the thinking is if kids are vaping, even non-nicotine devices, they will eventually take up smoking because the action is the same. Much like drinking pop will of course lead to drinking alcohol. After all, it’s drinking right…people even use that as mix!
It’s a surprise that Minister Glavine and Dr. Strang have not captured Root Beer and Ginger Beer in this legislation because the manufacturers are clearly looking to set up a pattern of beer drinking among our youth.
The testimony of vapers at law amendments showed us that e-cigarettes are a useful alternative for many people who would otherwise continue puffing away. There are people who smoke. Anybody who walks by a bar or a federal building can tell you, these people exist. There is absolutely no evidence that can point to people who never would have started or who would have quit if not for e-cigarettes. Those vapers exist only in the imaginations of Leo Glavine and his Chief of the Fun Police, Dr. Strang and his ilk. So far, and until proven otherwise, when it come to tobacco-related deaths and sickness, the evidence is strongly in favors of e-cigarettes.
But the Liberals push on, with nary a care in the world they will with the stroke of a pen put more people out of business, solving a problem that nobody but a few ideologues in the Department of Health and Wellness asked them to.
Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commenting on the banning of vaping said. “I think the precautionary principle—better safe than sorry—rules here.” While the white knights of the anti-vaping league continue their campaign perhaps they should ask themselves, in what world is it “safe” to institute a ban that could potentially keep smokers from buying a product that could save their lives?
Meanwhile the Liberal’s federal counterparts are promoting the legalization of marijuana.