An Ottawa Public Health study has reportedly found that nearly one in four high school students have tried vaping. “You’ve got a product that is tasting like cherries and root beer and strawberries being sold, and youth are picking it up,” said Marino Francispillai, the health unit’s program manager for school and community mental health and wellness.

Public health expert Dr. Michael Siegel has already explained that it is not true that one Juul Pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

According to the study, 23% of high school students in Ottawa have tried e-cigarettes, whilst 48% believe that vaping doesn’t pose a health risk. The OPH study also indicated that by comparison, only 6% of the students have smoked a cigarette in the last 12 months. “It’s become a bit of an epidemic at this point,” Francispillai said.

Referring to Juul, Francispillai mistakenly said that contrary to what many teens might think, one pod of vape juice can contain the same amount of nicotine as a carton of cigarettes. Public health expert Dr. Michael Siegel had already explained that this rumour which had been ironically spread by none other than the Truth Campaign, is inaccurate.

Francispillai added that vaping is harmful because of particulate matter. “It still has harms because you’re inhaling particulate matter, and some of that particulate matter is carcinogenic,” he said. Once again, this statement is flawed because research has indicated that the level of particulate matter found in e-vapour is insignificant to our health and at least 95% lower than the levels found in cigarette smoke. And therefore if teens are vaping instead of smoking, this is still a victory for public health.

Hostility towards e-cigarettes

This is not the first time that Ottawa has shown hostility towards vaping. In 2018, following the Ottawa Model Conference for Smoking Cessation, invitations were extended to a number of anti-vaping attendees such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society, to attend a debate about the use of e-cigarettes for harm reduction. Sadly, these invitations were ignored.

The panel, titled “If Quitting isn’t an Option, is Vaping?” was hosted in Ottawa by Sixth Estate, to discuss vaping as an alternative for those smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit. “It would be rather naïve to think that all smokers want to stop smoking, and that all smokers are able to stop smoking,” said Dr. Gaston Ostiguy, past director of the Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Montreal Chest Institute. “Even the best clinical studies have a success rate of less than thirty percent abstinence of one year.”

The panelists had spoken about the efficacy of vaping products as harm reduction tools and pointed out the negative impact that government policies that do not reflect this, have on public health. They had added that governments have been ignoring important scientific evidence pertaining to the products and regulating e-cigs as tobacco products, with the Tobacco Harm Reduction Association pointing out that this approach comes in the way of smokers learning about the relative benefits of the products.

Read Further: CBC


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