Canadians Advised Not To Use Electronic Cigarettes

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Health Canada is advising Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products, as these products may pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.

These products come as electronic cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and pipes, as well as cartridges of nicotine solutions and related products. These products fall within the scope of the Food and Drugs Act, and under the Act, require market authorization before they can be imported, advertised or sold. The sale of these health products is currently not compliant with the Food and Drugs Act since no electronic smoking products have been granted a market authorization in Canada.

In recent months, a number of electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes as well as cartridges of nicotine solutions and related products have been marketed in Canada, and through the Internet. Most of these products are shaped and look like their conventional counterparts. They produce a vapour that resembles smoke and a glow that resembles the tip of a cigarette. They consist of a battery-powered delivery system that vapourizes and delivers a liquid chemical mixture that may be composed of various amounts of nicotine, propylene glycol, and other chemicals.

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Nicotine is a highly addictive and toxic substance, and the inhalation of propylene glycol is a known irritant. Although these electronic smoking products may be marketed as a safer alternative to conventional tobacco products and, in some cases, as an aid to quitting smoking, electronic smoking products may pose risks such as nicotine poisoning and addiction. Please visit the Health Canada website for further information about nicotine and addiction.

While no electronic smoking product has yet been authorized for sale in Canada, Health Canada has authorized the sale of a number of smoking cessation aids, including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine inhaler, and nicotine lozenges.

Electronic smoking products, including their nicotine cartridges, must be kept out of the reach of children at all times, given the risk of choking or nicotine poisoning. Nicotine is hazardous to the health and safety of certain segments of the population such as children, youth, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with heart conditions, and the elderly.

Persons importing, advertising or selling electronic cigarette products in Canada must stop doing so immediately. Health Canada is providing information to interested stakeholders on how to apply for the appropriate market authorizations and establishment licences.

Canadians who have used e-cigarette products and are concerned about their health should consult with a health care practitioner.

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