Calgary's e-cigarette review should not receive AHS funds, says Alberta's health minister

Alberta Health Services (AHS) shouldn’t spend money on a survey to learn Calgarians’ attitudes on e-cigarettes, Health Minister Stephen Mandel said in the legislature Wednesday.
The electronic cigarette includes a light that glows as the user sucks on it, and a nicotine vapour that looks like smoke. (CBC)

Alberta Health Services (AHS) shouldn’t spend money on a survey to learn Calgarians’ attitudes on e-cigarettes, Health Minister Stephen Mandel said in the legislature Wednesday.

AHS is splitting the cost of the survey with the City of Calgary in the second phase of an e-cigarette review.

“The survey will cost $25,000, with $12,500 funded through the existing ABS [Animal and Bylaw Services] budget and $12,500 funded by AHS,” city administration said in a report.

“This includes funding for an online survey, associated data analysis, and a report on the survey findings ... administration will report on the survey findings in the development of the Phase 2 recommendations”

Mandel was asked about the survey by Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Heather Forsyth, who said the money could be used to ensure every long-term care resident gets two baths a week.

“Minister, that’s ridiculous," Forsyth said about the expenditure. "How many baths would that be?” 

“Alberta Health Services should not be going out and doing those kind of things at this point in time,” he replied. “These are difficult times and we will talk to them about the kind of investments they’re making.”

In a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Premier Jim Prentice spoke about how the dramatic drop in the price of oil will reduce provincial revenues by $6 billion.

The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, the benchmark used by the provincial government, hovered around $60 a barrel Wednesday.


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