Vaping products, including e-cigarettes, have been designed as an alternative to smoking.(1) The main substances in vaping solutions are vegetable glycerine and/or propylene glycol, which are commonly mixed with flavourings and nicotine.(1) Vaping devices may also be designed to heat other substances, such as oils, dried cannabis, cannabis concentrates, etc.(1)
Vaping should be avoided by anyone who does not smoke.(2) Vaping products expose users and bystanders to toxic substances, but at lower levels than tobacco smoke.(2)
Evidence for vaping as a smoking cessation aid is limited.(2) However, there is strong evidence to recommend using medication (e.g., varenicline, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion) and counselling, either alone or in combination.(2) No vaping products have been approved by Health Canada for use as a smoking cessation aid.(2)
Caution: If you vape, monitor yourself for symptoms of lung illness such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. Be sure to tell your health care professional that you currently vape, or have in the past, and what products you were vaping.
Still curious about vapour products? Consider the following:
Less Harmful Doesn’t Mean Harmless
E-cigarettes produce a vapour which is then condensed into an aerosol before being inhaled by the user. The aerosol is a mixture of chemicals and small particles that can hurt the lungs, similar to cigarette smoke. Propylene glycol and flavourings are generally safe for oral consumption, but the long-term health impact of inhaling them into the lungs remains unknown.(3)
The Government of Canada is investigating vaping-associated lung illness, also known as severe pulmonary illness, associated with vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States are also investigating.
Vaping may expose you to nicotine which is highly addictive. There is substantial evidence showing that vaping can lead to symptoms of dependence.(2)
Vaping may increase the likelihood of youth and young adults trying tobacco cigarettes.(2) The young brain is in development until the mid-twenties and is more susceptible to nicotine addiction compared to an adult brain. Youth and young adults can develop a nicotine addiction with a lower level of exposure than adults.(4)
Vaping products release chemicals that may harm your health.
E-cigarettes, e-liquid and cartridges/pods in Canada are controlled by federal and provincial restrictions. Measures continue to be put in place to protect youth as we learn more about e-cigarettes, including that they are NOT as harmless as the industry would have us believe.(3)
For more information:
- Vaping [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2018 Oct 18 [cited 2020 Jan 31]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/smoking-tobacco/vaping.html.
- Vaping products including e-cigarettes [Internet]. Toronto: Population Health and Prevention, Prevention and Cancer Control; 2020 Jan 2 [cited 2020 Jan 31]. Available from: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/guidelines-advice/types-of-cancer/62591?utm_campaign=vapingsummary&utm_medium=email&utm_source=outlook&utm_term=na&utm_content=EN.
- Guidance on Vaping Products not Marketed for a Therapeutic Use [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2019 Jan 15 [cited 2020 Jan 31]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/product-safety/vaping-not-marketed-therapeutic-use.html.
- Lydon, D. M., Wilson, S. J., Child, A., & Geier, C. F. Adolescent brain maturation and smoking: What we know and where we’re headed. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2014 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.07.003.