E-cigarettes are taking the global nicotine market by storm, spurring researchers to ask whether the new devices are a helpful quitting tool for smokers or a serious threat to public health.
On April 16, David Hammond (pictured right), a professor in Waterloo's School of Public Health and Health Systems, will join a panel of experts in a live webcast hosted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The webcast will explore the fiercely debated e-cigarette market—from marketing to youth and the content of warning labels, to the design of the products.
“There are two main possibilities when it comes to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes may help some of the 4.5 million smokers in Canada to quit; on the other hand, e-cigarettes may promote tobacco use among new users,” said Hammond. “Ultimately, the way e-cigarettes are regulated will determine whether they decrease or increase smoking rates.”
The rise of vaping
E-cigarettes work by delivering nicotine in aerosol or vapour form through an electronic device often resembling a traditional cigarette. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and no combustion takes place when they are smoked or vaped.
“There is no question that e-cigarettes are a harmful consumer product. However, because they don’t contain tobacco and release smoke, they are significantly less harmful than smoking,” said Hammond, who testified to a Parliamentary committee in November.
More than 2.5 million Canadians have tried e-cigarettes, with youth making up the largest demographic of users. A 2015 special report found that one in five Canadian youth experiment with the e-cigarettes before they reach nineteen.
Although the Government of Canada prohibits the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, the devices are still widely available across the country. In the United States, the FDA is quickly moving to regulate e-cigarettes and warning labels.
“At the moment, we have an uncontrolled experiment with e-cigarettes: millions of Canadians are trying products with unknown safety standards for a wide variety of reasons. There is an urgent need for better evidence to guide policy in this fast moving area.”
Watch the webcast
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. ET
Join the conversation
Audience members can e-mail questions for the expert participants before or during the live webcast to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @ForumHSPH using #EcigsForum. Moderators will run a live chat during the lecture on the event web page.