E-cigarette changes debated at public hearing
49 people have signed up to speak at Law Amendments Committee meeting
There was stiff opposition Monday to a Nova Scotia bill aimed at restricting the use of e-cigarettes and ban the flavoured juices used in the e-cigarettes.
Former smokers say Bill 60 is a bad idea. It is before the Law Amendments Committee at Province House so the public can have a say on the proposed changes.
Many who spoke before the committee were unhappy with the bill, especially when it comes to electronic cigarettes or vaporizers.
People who used to smoke regular tobacco and have switched to what's called "vaping” say it has helped them.
Heather DeLong told the committee she hasn’t felt this good in a long time.
"I feel great. I don't cough. I don't wheeze," she said. "One of the most important things is I have hope. There's a good possibility I that I won't die from some disease, from the same disease that killed my mother."
Banning e-cigarettes will only force those addicted to nicotine to turn again to tobacco, according to Marsha Kaczmarek.
"You're actually causing a death sentence for those people who use e-cigarettes that have quit smoking with the e-cigarettes and you're going to force them back to the big tobacco companies that will offer you a Russian roulette with your life pack by pack by pack," she testified.
Both women described themselves as former long time smokers who fear they will go back to smoking tobacco if they can’t use the flavoured juices in e-cigarettes.
They say there's no danger to themselves or others from "vaping" and they should be allowed to continue to do it.
Anti-tobacco groups disagree and say this is just another way to entice young people to start smoking.
Kevin Chapman, director of health policy and promotion for Doctors Nova Scotia, was one of the voices supporting the bill.
"Doctors Nova Scotia and physicians have long been concerned with smoking and smoking cessation programs," he said.
"We see e-cigarettes as an extension of that. We've made great strides in the last generation in terms of decreasing smoking among youth and concerned if we don't stop that."
The hearings will continue into Monday evening.