Electronic cigarettes also called e-cigarettes and vapes are tobacco industry products. They come in many shapes and sizes – ranging from long cylindrical units to small boxes with a mouthpiece, to flat sticks similar in look to USB memory sticks. Depending on the model, a user can fill their own cartridge with e-juice or buy pre-filled sealed cartridges. The fill-your-own or customizable cartridges can be used to vape everything from e-juices to cannabis.
Position of Southwestern Public Health:
- There is substantial evidence that e-cigarettes have short-term negative health effects and that e-cigarette aerosol contains many harmful chemicals.
- The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown. Further scientific research is needed to determine possible health effects of long-term use.
- There is conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes contain and emit many potentially toxic substances posing a risk to bystanders. When compared to combustible tobacco, the chemicals in e-cigarette aerosol are found in lower levels.
- Southwestern Public Health does not recommend using an e-cigarette to quit smoking. Until further evidence supports the use of e-cigarettes as an effective cessation device, Southwestern Public Health will continue to promote and support the public with quit attempts using evidence informed cessation methods, including nicotine replacement therapy (e.g., patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, quick mist).
- Nicotine has been shown to alter the adolescent brain. Some e-cigarettes products contain as much or more nicotine in a single pod as a pack of cigarettes and pose a serious risk to youth. E-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine also contain many potentially harmful chemicals.
- E-cigarettes have the potential to re-normalize smoking and act as a gateway to traditional tobacco use among youth. Conclusive evidence finds that using an e-cigarette increases the risk of ever using a combustible tobacco product among youth or young adults.
- Southwestern Public Health will enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act 2017, including provisions related to e-cigarettes.
Some Key Points to Remember:
- Vaping is not harmless – short and long-term health effects are still being studied.
- Many e-juices contain nicotine and students using them are at risk of becoming addicted.
- Nicotine can alter teen brain development and can affect memory and concentration.
- There is growing evidence that youth who vape go on to smoke cigarettes.
- Vaping, like tobacco and cannabis smoking, is banned on school property at all times and within 20 meters of the perimeter of the property.