SMOK­ING CON­CERNS

Donna Pasiech­nik of the Cana­dian Cancer So­ci­ety wants the pro­mo­tion of elec­tronic cig­a­rettes banned over con­cerns that there are more youths smok­ing and va­p­ing.

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - JEN­NIFER ACKERMAN jack­er­[email protected]­media.com

Con­cerned about in­creas­ing rates of youth smok­ing and va­p­ing, the Cana­dian Cancer So­ci­ety (CCS) is call­ing on the prov­ince to ban pro­mo­tion and advertising of elec­tronic cig­a­rettes.

“Va­p­ing is less harm­ful than smok­ing, but it’s not harm­less,” said Donna Pasiech­nik, a health pol­icy an­a­lyst for the CCS in Saskatchewan.

E-cig­a­rettes, of­ten used as an al­ter­na­tive to smok­ing, still con­tain cig­a­rettes’ ad­dic­tive in­gre­di­ent — nico­tine — and while some ar­gue it’s rel­a­tively harm­less, oth­ers like Pasiech­nik are urg­ing cau­tion.

“These prod­ucts are rel­a­tively new to the mar­ket,” she said. “So we don’t truly know what the longterm im­pacts ... are.”

With many prod­ucts avail­able in a va­ri­ety of fun flavours and e-cig­a­rettes that could eas­ily be mis­taken for a long USB stick, Pasiech­nik is wor­ried about how the new trend is be­com­ing pop­u­lar­ized among the prov­ince’s youth.

A sign out­side a con­ve­nience store in Regina’s Cathe­dral neigh­bour­hood holds an ad­ver­tise­ment for the Vype EPEN 3. “Hits the spot. All taste. No tar. Govype.ca” reads the ad.

In­side, a Vype dis­play sits on counter while cig­a­rettes and other tobacco prod­uct are tucked away be­hind non­de­script cup­board doors with no ads for them in sight.

Pasiech­nik said dis­plays and signs advertising e-cig­a­rettes put the prod­uct “front and cen­tre in con­ve­nience stores right be­side the candy counter for kids to see.”

“Our con­cern is that va­p­ing has the po­ten­tial to undo all the work we’ve done to re­duce smok­ing rates in Canada by hook­ing an­other gen­er­a­tion of kids to nico­tine,” she said.

CCS Saskatchewan met with Min­istry of Health and other stake­hold­ers on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss their con­cerns and make a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions.

Pasiech­nik said they would like to see the pro­mo­tion of e-cig­a­rettes, which were le­gal­ized by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in May, banned.

“Es­sen­tially, the laws that we have in place around tobacco should ap­ply to e-cigs and most prov­inces have those reg­u­la­tions in place,” she said. “Saskatchewan does not.”

Fed­eral leg­is­la­tion re­stricts lifestyle advertising and ads that ap­peal to chil­dren when it comes to va­p­ing. It also pro­hibits the de­pic­tion of a per­son, an­i­mal or char­ac­ter, real or fic­tion in va­p­ing ads. There is cur­rently no pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion spe­cific to va­p­ing or e-cig­a­rettes.

An emailed state­ment from the Min­istry of Health de­scribed the meet­ing as pro­duc­tive.

“We are con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor the ef­fec­tive­ness of the fed­eral leg­is­la­tion and the ap­proaches in other prov­inces,” said the state­ment. “Through col­lec­tive ac­tion, our goal is to pro­tect the health of Saskatchewan peo­ple and make it eas­ier for them to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

Twyla West, spokesper­son for the Regina Catholic School Divi­sion, said it doesn’t have solid data on the preva­lence of va­p­ing among stu­dents at school but they are aware some stu­dents do par­take.

“We would ab­so­lutely dis­cour­age it and en­cour­age all of our stu­dents to re­ally think about any­thing that they’re putting into their body,” said West.

If caught va­p­ing, stu­dents risk a sus­pen­sion, she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Gov­ern­ment of Canada sur­vey con­ducted in 201617, the preva­lence of ever try­ing an e-cig­a­rette in­creased to 23 per cent (ap­prox­i­mately 470,000 stu­dents) from 20 per cent in 2014-15.

Among stu­dents who used an e-cig­a­rette in the past 30 days, 57 per cent had used an e-cig­a­rette on three or fewer days, while 11 per cent re­ported daily use.

Of the stu­dents who had used an e-cig­a­rette in the past 30 days, 17 per cent were cur­rent smok­ers, 12 per cent were for­mer smok­ers, 35 per cent were ex­per­i­men­tal smok­ers or puffers and 36 per cent in­di­cated that they had never smoked a cig­a­rette.

Pasiech­nik said the CCS will fol­low up with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in the new year, but is de­mand­ing changes, par­tic­u­larly to the Tobacco Control Act, as soon as pos­si­ble.

In ad­di­tion to a ban on pro­mo­tion and advertising, they ’d like to see a li­cens­ing sys­tem in­sti­tuted as well as a fee for sell­ing e-cig­a­rettes and va­p­ing prod­ucts.

She said those changes might help re­duce the temp­ta­tion to sell prod­ucts to mi­nors and hope­fully re­sult in less youth va­p­ing.

“We’re call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to mod­ern­ize our out­dated tobacco laws in or­der to re­duce our high youth smok­ing rates,” she said.

“We’ve re­ally fallen be­hind here in Saskatchewan.”

TROY FLEECE

TROY FLEECE

A lo­cal ad­ver­tise­ment for va­p­ing prod­ucts high­lights con­ve­nience and ease of use.

TROY FLEECE

The shape of some e-cig­a­rettes — sim­i­lar to a USB stick — may make them at­trac­tive to young peo­ple, anti-smok­ing ad­vo­cates say.

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