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Vancouver Coastal Health calls for e-cigarettes ban

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



Vancouver Coastal Health is trying to convince cities and schools to ban electronic cigarettes — though the vaporizers don’t legally contain nicotine — at places where regular smoking is already banned.

The devices have been around since the mid-2000s, but medical health officer Dr. Meena Dawar said on Tuesday that over the last three years she’s been hearing complaints from schools about teens bringing the products into class.

And since they’re not governed by existing tobacco legislation, venders are free to advertise the products or even sell them to minors, she said.

There’s also no law stopping e-cig “vapers” from puffing indoors — which means chemicals such as propylene glycol, nitrosamines and even heavy metals such as lead could be inhaled second-hand, Dawar said.

“We’ve really become aware of it as a public health issue,” she said.

Vancouver School District spokesman Kurt Heinrich said e-cigs are treated like the real thing and any student caught with one in school would be spoken to.

Despite nicotine-carrying electronic cigarettes restricted for advertising, sale and importation by Health Canada, shops carrying the products have still sprouted.

Dawar said labeling of the products is also unregulated and not all ingredient lists are accurate.

Jason Lew, proprietor of e-cig shop CEV Vancouver, said nicotine is included in some of his products. He’s been trying to reach Health Canada to establish regulations for the industry.

“When you walk into our store … you’re challenged with ID request right away. If you cannot produce it, you are actually kicked out of the store immediately,” he countered.

Lew’s store is part of a group of seven businesses, collectively the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association, trying to self-regulate their trade.

“We’re the ones trying to self-regulate ourselves and put self-audits into it before Health Canada can get there.”

He said CEV’s products follow federal labeling guidelines and the company discloses exactly what’s in the “juice.”



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