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Public Health Expert: Vape Bans Reverse Smoking Cessation Success

Renowned Canadian public health expert David Sweanor, explains that the growing panic surrounding vaping and any bans that may arise as a result of it, could have disastrous consequences in reversing the positive results that have been achieved in decreasing smoking rates. 

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An adjunct professor in the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, Sweanor has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce cigarette smoking in Canada and around the world, for the last 30 years. 

“It is like everyone has forgotten about smoking, which will kill over 100 Canadians today.”

He explains that while e-cigarettes offer a lot of potential as harm reduction tools, currently everyone seems to be forgetting who the real villains are. “It is like everyone has forgotten about smoking, which will kill over 100 Canadians today,” he said.

Sweanor pointed out that the current panic around vaping could undo the positive results that have been achieved thanks to e-cigarettes so far. “This is hugely counterproductive,” he said. “We have the potential to get rid of our leading cause of preventable death. What is killing people is the smoke, not the nicotine.”

Bans just push vapers back to smoking

He added that “just say no” campaigns could push people back to smoking. “We need to meet people where they are and empower them to make better choices,” he said. “Just say no campaigns do not meet those criteria, particularly so when we deal with addictions, and dramatically so when the foreseeable consequence is the resumption of a massively more hazardous behaviour like cigarette smoking.”

Following the infamous cases of lung disease reported in the US, earlier this month the Public Health Agency of Canada also reported the country’s first case, in Quebec. Meanwhile, recent reports and even the US CDC, have linked these cases to the consumption of illicit THC, purchased from street dealers or prepared by the consumers themselves at home.

EVALI linked to the consumption of illicit THC

“If you do vape, do not use vaping products that have been obtained from illegal or unregulated sources and do not modify vaping products or add substances to products that are not intended by the manufacturer.”

Despite this, vaping and e-cigarette bans keep spreading like wildfire. Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has recently released a statement warning that vaping is not without risk. “The long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown. Non-smokers, people who are pregnant and young people should not vape,” she said.

“If you do vape, do not use vaping products that have been obtained from illegal or unregulated sources and do not modify vaping products or add substances to products that are not intended by the manufacturer.”

PHE retains its position in favour of harm reduction

In line with the above, Public Health England (PHE) is reassuring e-cig users that their stance on vaping remains unchanged. “Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged – vaping isn’t completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco. There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping,” said the PHE on Twitter.

Read Further: Ottawa Citizen

Massachusetts Sales Data: E-Cig Ban Has Driven Ex-Smokers Back to Smoking

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