The rise of E-cigarettes: Helping to quit or encouraging to smoke?
Cigarette ads have been banned in Canada and the U.S. from television for decades but in the past month, in the U.S. and Canada viewers have nevertheless seen ads aimed at smokers.
When it comes to popularity, electronic cigarettes may be the next energy drink -- some studies suggest U.S. sales will reach $1 billion by the end of this year. Health Canada prefers Canadians not join in. It "advises Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products, as they may pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy". However sales in Canada are on the rise.
E-cigarettes use a liquid-filled cartridge that can contain mint, vanilla or other flavourings. Health Canada has not given stores approval to sell the nicotine-filled cartridges, but you can find them online.
Do a Google search and you'll find hundreds of testimonials from former smokers who swear e-cigarettes helped them quit.
Brendan Bradshaw of Edmonton started smoking at 18. Now in his 30s he was up to a pack and a half a day. Two years ago he purchased an e-cigarette that has completely replaced his smoking habit. He now so-called "vapes", but doesn't smoke.
Brendan Bradshaw estimates he now pays $900 a year for e-cigarette supplies that have replaced a cigarette habit that once cost him thousands of dollars.
But public health officials remain skeptical. The Canadian Lung Association suggests candy-flavoured e-cigarettes could entice young people to start smoking. And last week it issued a warning saying not to be fooled by e-cigarettes.
About a hundred public health experts will gather in Toronto tomorrow for a forum on electronic cigarettes, organized by Melodie Tilson. Ms.
Tilson is policy director with the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. She joined us this morning from Ottawa.
Dr. Preet Rai is medical director of Smoke NV. He was in Edmonton.
Health Canada declined to provide a guest for today's show, but answered some background questions in writing.
This segment was produced by Edmonton Network Producer, Gillian Rutherford.
Last Word - Blackberry Skit
Research in Motion hopes to claw back a bit of its lost consumer market tomorrow with the release its Blackberry 10. Many Canadians have RIM shares, but even those who don't may feel a stake in the company because of their affection for the Blackberry and it's stratospheric success.
The world has been enriched by Canadian invention; kerosene, the telephone, insulin and butter tarts.
But the Blackberry was once so ubiquitous, British comedian Ronnie Corbett could get laughs just by mentioning the name. He gets today's Last Word-- and it might help to know he's visiting a fruit stand in this sketch.
Other segments from today's show: