The new craze these days is tobacco harm reduction. Smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking.
So, how do you vape? That’s the question companies who offer electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are asking consumers these days.
It seems that the tobacco harm reduction movement is in full swing and droves of companies are cashing in on the new trend. Picking an e-cigarette over a real cigarette appears to be the lesser of the two evils.
Mark Bradshaw, who lives in Toronto, ON, had his first cigarette when he was in his early teens.
Since he started smoking he quickly became a pack to a pack-and-a-half a day user.
He totally regrets starting the bad habit.
However, the 44 year-old got a stern warning from his doctor only a few months ago.
“My doc told me I had some scar tissue on my left lung which could lead to a hole in the lung,” he says during an interview. “He told me if I kept on smoking I would soon die. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. I knew I had to quit right away.”
On his way home from the doctor, he stopped in at a local Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up the nicotine patch and some chewing gum to begin his smoke-free journey.
He then came across a display of e-cigs (nicotine free) and decided to buy one and try it out.
“I had nothing to lose,” he says. “Something told me to give the e-cig thing a shot, and it’s the best thing I ever did.”
Since using e-cigs over the last 12 weeks, he hasn’t touched a cigarette.
“I will be honest e-cigs in Canada don’t have any nicotine, so my body was missing it for the first month. It was tough – I had some miserable cravings but I got through them. I actually chewed on some nicotine gum while using the e-cigs and it worked. The new products out there really help with the actual hand to mouth habit of smoking.”
Just about every place across the nation - convenience stores, gas stations, malls, and drug stores – is now selling e-cigs. The ‘vape’ experience is in hardcore; much like smoking was years ago.
The e-cig business is expected to be a $14-billion industry within three years’ time, according to Wells Fargo.
At drug stores, like Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall, e-cigs are normally sold in the Nicotine Replacement Therapy Sections.
There are a wide variety of brands out there that people are using and notable include Dune, GetVapes, and Nano by Jasper & Jasper.
Steve Muzaic, Vice President for Nano E-Cigs by Jasper & Jasper, says his company is seeing its sales grow each month.
“The numbers of e-cig users keeps on climbing,” he says. “Tobacco harm reduction is the new trend and people are turning to e-cigs as a safer alternative to smoking.”
He adds, “Cigarettes are known to contain hundreds of chemicals, which are carcinogenic. Products like Nano allows users to feel like they are smoking, but they’re not taking in any of the harmful chemicals.”
Products being offered start from about $10 and the ones that required replacement cartridges are between $75 and $120.
Each e-cig lasts for about two to three days for an average smoker, which about is two packs.
Health professionals in Canada are keeping a close eye on the e-cig movement.
John Chenery, Manager of Communications for the Lung Association in Ontario, indicates that they want more “research into the potential health effects of electronic cigarettes.”
Jennifer Miller, vice-president of health promotion with the Lung Association states, “I think we owe it to millions of Canadians who are addicted to tobacco products. If there’s a product out there that may have some merit to bring down those numbers, we have to look at it.”
“Nano by Jasper & Jasper can’t claim that e-cigs actually get people off of tobacco,” says Muzaic. “But we can safely say that people are using them and trying them out as they feel they are safer than smoking real cigarettes.”
The federal government of Canada has collected nearly $25-billion over the last two years from the sale of tobacco.
Around the world the e-cig fad is taking off big time.
According to the UK government nearly 1.3 million smokers have quit cigarettes when using c-cigs. In the US, that number is nearly 4 million. No data on this matter is available yet in Canada.
Health Canada at present is not supporting the sale and use of e-cigs, but they too still want to research and look in the products offered more closely.