Vaping is now favoured by many people as a safer and more socially-acceptable alternative to the traditional cigarette.
Vaping has been frequently in the news in the past few years due to the outbreak of devastating and in some cases fatal vaping-related lung illnesses in North America.
The variety of flavours and the technology of it appears attractive on the surface, but in terms of health it raises the question: when you look past the vape clouds, how harmful are they really?
E-cigarette liquids contain potentially harmful chemicals, including a suspected carcinogen banned in food in the United States.
Because the practice is still largely new, the effects of vaping remain a mystery.
“Vaping does have risks and the potential long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown,” according to Statistics Canada.
Despite this, vaping is still very common, especially among younger demographics.
In 2017, 15 percent of Canadians aged 15 years and older had tried an e-cigarette.
23 percent of youth aged 15 to 19, and 29 percent of young adults aged 20 to 24, reported trying an e-cigarette.
Past-30-day use of e-cigarettes was reported by six percent of youth aged 15 to 19 and 6 percent of young adults aged 20 to 24.
Among Canadians aged 15 years and older who had used an e-cigarette in the past month, 22 percent reported using tobacco the last time they used an e-cigarette.
Shockingly, the highest rate of past-30 day use was in New Brunswick.
On the other hand, the number of Canadian citizens that smoke cigarettes regularly has been on a decline for quite some time now.
“Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Switching from tobacco cigarettes to vaping will reduce your exposure to many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals,” said Health Canada on its website.
In 2019, Canada and the United States have reported numerous incidents of lung illness associated with vaping. Vaping-associated lung illness, also known as severe pulmonary disease, is characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow.
As of February 11, 2020, 17 cases of vaping-associated lung illness have been reported in Canada, two of which were in New Brunswick. No deaths have been reported.
8 of the cases were among individuals ages 15 to 34, with equal rates in males and females.
Health Canada has increased its efforts to regulate vaping in Canada. The most common violations were promoting child-friendly flavours and using testimonials to promote products.