The Canadian Cancer Society took the opportunity of ramping up the concerns raised by a fairly even-handed report issued by the Institut national de la santé publique du Québec on e-cigarette products being mislabeled. The report found varying levels of nicotine in supposedly nicotine free e-cigarettes.
Now I am all for precise description of contents, and I know first hand that this is a major concern of reputable e-cigarette producers and retailers, however I can’t help but think that making too much hay out of these mislabeled products comes from continuing to treat nicotine as a horribly toxic substance.
Imagine if you tested a number of decaffeinated products and found they contained some caffeine. Sure, that has to change. It is wrong but would there be the same hullabaloo about some minimal amounts showing up in the product?
If we are agreed that the dangers of nicotine are nothing much too worry about then why should it matter for the consumer if they get a little bit of it. As with caffeine, the user will sense it and if they don’t like it, reject it for another brand. What really is nice about both caffeine and nicotine is that you can control the amount you take in over time, and if you sense that there is more than you like, you can immediately stop with no real lasting discomfort.
But to reiterate in case I am misunderstood, I am not defending wrong labelling – I am just saying that in this case it will not have much of an impact.
The Society then reported on a commissioned study which found that nearly a quarter of 18-24 years old had used e-cigarettes in the past year while in the general population the percentage was only about 9%. They then reported that as much as 60% of youth had reported using them. I have a hard time understanding how the figures interact and no link is given to the actual results.
But then they say that quitting smoking was not the main concern of these users. What I find fascinating is that these organizations will complain that these are not quit smoking devices and then complain that people are not using them to quit smoking.
I find any report of the rise of e-cigarettes in the 18-24 age group encouraging. It is a good thing if these people can switch now rather than after decades of smoking. And the CCS should understand that the more you vape the less likely you are to smoke.
And all those “kid-friendly” flavours (in other words, flavours that any human being of any age might prefer to tobacco-flavouring) might have helped get those adults to try and move over to vaping.
Not only does the CCS not get that fighting these products tooth and nail goes against their mandate to prevent cancer but that there are no good arguments against moving a flavoured gas in and out of your lungs if it doesn’t harm you (or for that matter either someone seeing you moving that gas or airing an advertisement to engage in the same activity).