New Brunswick

E-cigarette risks unknown, cautions N.B. Lung Association

The head of the New Brunswick Lung Association is cautioning smokers against switching to e-cigarettes.

Smokers advised against switching to electronic cigarettes until research is conducted

The head of the New Brunswick Lung Association is cautioning smokers against switching to e-cigarettes.

Earlier this week, a Fredericton store owner told CBC News he has as a growing clientele of more than 2,000 local and online customers for his electronic cigarette kits.

But Barb MacKinnon, president and CEO of the lung association, says the health risks or benefits of inhaling volatile liquids from e-cigarettes have not yet been studied.

"It is unknown what health effects these products have, or even if they do help people quit smoking, although I have heard anecdotally that some people have cut down their smoking by using these," she said.

"And I think this is the basis for the Health Canada warnings, especially those e-cigarettes that contain nicotine because the dosage varies in each of these e-cigarettes. You can have low-dose or high-dose."

Health Canada has not authorized any electronic cigarettes with nicotine or health claims, but proponents contend they are healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes.

MacKinnon isn't convinced. e-cigarettes have various chemicals in them, she said. "Some of the chemicals in them are actually carcinogens."

She hopes research will be done. Meanwhile, she is calling on the provincial government to add e-cigarettes to the ban on smoking in public places.

No one from public health was available for comment on Thursday.

Health Canada has ordered Ryanne Pineda, the owner of Fredericton's East Coast Vape, to stop selling e-cigarettes and the flavoured vaporizing liquids he produces that deliver nicotine to e-cigarette users as a vapour.

Pineda is fighting the order, arguing he's doing nothing illegal.

He contends Schedule F of the Food and Drugs Act states that a dose of nicotine of under four milligrams is exempt from being classified as a new drug or a drug delivery system.