Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria

Leave a comment

Are E-Cigarettes a Good Smoking Cessation Tool?


For the past couple of decades, society has changed its view on cigarette smoking, where more smokers are socially isolated due to public smoking laws and legislations. Tobacco kills about 37,000 Canadians every year, and lung cancer remains high on the list of preventable diseases.

Smoking cessation tools are a multi-million dollar industry as smokers try to make the healthy choice to kick their habit. E-cigarettes have been introduced and marketed as a cessation tool, although research on the product reveals entirely different results.

How do e-cigarettes work, you ask? E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices designed to simulate conventional cigarette smoking. Inside the cigarette shaped tube is a cartridge that contains nicotine or other chemicals, that when heated, converts liquid into vapour that is inhaled by the smoker. The idea is that the e-cigarettes do not burn, so no smoke is inhaled, which makes the smoking an e-cigarette safer, although not completely safe.

There are several reasons that e-cigarettes can pose just as great a risk as traditional cigarettes:

Nicotine: Nicotine is the highly addictive substance found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes, which still fuels addiction of the substance even though the delivery of the drug is in a safer manner with e-cigarettes.

Dosage is not regulated: You can purchase nicotine cartridges in a variety of doses (0mg/ml to 36mg/ml) and the higher the dosage, the more intense the effects of the drug.

Cheaper than cigarettes: Cigarettes are heavily taxed due to their associated health risks, while e-cigarettes are becoming widely available at an affordable price.

Marketed to young people: Flavoured cigarettes were banned when it was determined that flavoured products were targeting young users, but there are no regulations on flavoured e-cigarette cartridges which are often laced with large amounts of sugar. Studies show that many e-cigarette users are young people who were never cigarette smokers before.

There does not seem to be an association between e-cigarette use and reduced cigarette consumption in young people, which suggests that young non-smokers are picking up an e-cigarette habit! E-cigarettes are more successful as a cessation tool in older adults, who have more motivation to quit.

If not addressed promptly, e-cigarette use could become another avenue to develop a nicotine addiction, instead of the cessation tool it was initially intended to be. What needs to happen to regulate e-cigarette use?

  • Policies regarding public use of e-cigarettes (banned in restaurants, bars, offices)
  • Laws against selling to minors
  • Warning labels
  • No free samples
  • Avoid marketing to minors

Do you see e-cigarette use as harmful as cigarette smoking? What else can be done to regulate the use of nicotine? I look forward to your thoughts below!




Leave a comment

Moncton Tragedy: How a Community Heals

Late last night suspected gunman Justin Bourque was arrested for the allegedly killing three MountiesIn light of the recent shooting of three RCMP officers, the Moncton, New Brunswick community can breathe easier now that they are free from imminent violence and danger, but now the difficult part begins – grief and healing.

How does a small community learn to feel safe after experiencing that level of threat and violence and being subject to home lockdown, while police tracked a man armed with assault rifles? How does the same community recover from the loss of three men who were fathers, colleagues, brothers and sons of many of the community members?

It would be only too easy for a community like Moncton to remain angry and unforgiving at not only the man who committed these crimes, but at the failure of those around him to recognize warning signs and allowing deadly weapons in the hands of someone capable of such violence. However, healing is possible when individuals in the community rely on each other and use their shared grief to move forward. Recovery occurs through the participation in formal settings, like participation in memorials, vigils and community gatherings, but healing also takes place in the small moments, between friends and family members, verbalizing their grief by speaking about their loss and confusion. In a small, tight-knit community such as Moncton, and their closeness will no doubt aid in their path to healing.

Community leaders play a vital role in the healing of an entire community, as they need to recognize and assess the needs of the community members and encourage understanding and tolerance when it is almost impossible to do so. These leaders – political, educational, business, religious – have the unique responsibility to manage their own grief in addition to guiding the community members to the next stage of healing when they are ready.

In the case of such reckless violence and loss, we may be at a loss to comprehend the reasons why the shooter took this particular course of action, or how his state of mental health played into his decision-making. The community must remember that while there may be no understanding this tragedy, recovery is possible through forgiveness and love.

As surrounding supporters of the Moncton community, what can we do to learn from their experience? Perhaps it is to remember that every day matters and that, since life can be unpredictable, we need to hold on tight to what is important and learn to never take it for granted.

How else can the community of Moncton manage their grief? What is important for them to remember? I look forward to your thoughts below.