When committed users of electronic cigarettes (often referred to as ‘vapers’) gather once a month for a ‘vape meet,’ a corner of Villians Beastro, a local bar in downtown Windsor, ON, resembles a smoke-filled ambiance from before the days of tobacco bans. ‘Until the government starts issuing bans, we’re going to be a vape-friendly bar,’ said owner and proud vaper Geoff Zanetti. He is really happy with the growing popularity of ecigs, these battery-powered devices that use an atomizer to heat a nicotine based liquid solution to produce a vapour that resembles tobacco smoke.
‘It’s a really good alternative,’ for people hooked on combustible cigarettes he believes. However, there is a imminent move by Canada health officials to ban ecigs in all places where tobacco products are banned, such as public places, restaurants, bars and offices.
A recent report from Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health concludes that e-cigarette use represents a public health concern because of the following reasons:
- there is ‘emerging evidence’ of health dangers associated with vaping and second-hand exposure to vapour;
- minors who start with vaping could end up nicotine addicted and gradually move on to tobacco cigarettes;
- vaping in public places would be in conflict with the longstanding efforts to ‘de-normalize all smoking behavior.’
However, Zanetti has a very different point of view. ‘I don’t see a harm in it, it doesn’t affect anybody,’ said Zanetti. ‘Second-hand vape? I think the government just needs to relax on things like that.’
Mike Hart, owner of an online and retail operation called ‘Vape Me Vapables’ in Windsor, decided to write an email to David McKeown and share his point of view. ‘I was under the impression something had to be proven dangerous before it could be banned,’ he wrote. While puffing on an e-cigarette and smoking tobacco may look similar, the fact is that there’s no combustion with vaping. Above all, the e-liquid he sells to produce the delicious clouds of vapor has only four ingredients: nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and food grade flavorings. ’The functional and visual similarity is what makes (e-cigarettes) so effective at quitting combustion. It’s an upgrade from smoking.’
Also Paul Dinunzio, who used to be a convinced smoker for over 30 years, quit the nasty habit when he started puffing on e-cigarettes three years ago. He believes ecigs may not be perfect but they sure beat any of the alternatives. Because vaping offers that hand-to-mouth fixation and the social aspects of smoking, it helped him cut down and eventually forget about tobacco.
‘When you inhale it, it feels like you’re inhaling smoke,’ said Dinunzio, who started up a vape shop called ‘Vaporama’ in Amherstburg six months ago. The e-liquid he sells does have a small amount of nicotine, ‘so you’re not getting that nicotine craving,’ he said.
‘I personally think that the government would be better off in the long run to let this go and grow, because they would save in health costs. Every person who gets off cigarettes is going to save them a ton in health costs later in life.’