EDITORIAL: Regulating e-cigs an obvious step

Having more control over fledgling industry makes sense, given the lack of knowledge about long-term health effects

Last week, the province announced legislation to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and associated products.

Anyone who was paying attention saw the changes coming down the pipe, but do they go too far?

Do they go far enough?

There has been a steep and swift uptake in the use of these products over the past few years, and for good reason. The science about the harms of smoking is in, and many use these newly-regulated products (colloquially called “vapes”) as a smoking cessation tool, which is likely the main cause of their increased use.

Whatever the reasons, however, the government is right that we need protection from products and actions that are possibly harmful to our health.

It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that people openly smoked in the corridors of the mall, and restaurant patrons were asked “smoking or non?” before being seated. That would be unthinkable these days, because we know the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

It would be nice to see the science the province has used to back the creation of these regulations, however, so we could better understand the decisions they’re making. Better yet, government itself could have some research conducted on this matter.

After all, one of the best ways to “protect youth from the unknown effects of e-cigarette vapour and becoming addicted to nicotine,” (the goal of the regulations according to the announcement from the Ministry of Health) is to get rid of the word “unknown” in that sentence.

But this is a relatively new phenomenon and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our collective health, at least in terms of things we voluntarily do to ourselves. We’re better to pre-emptively regulate something that could prove harmful in the long run than we are to “wait and see,” only to find the damage has already been done.

But then again, and if that’s the case, where’s the regulation on deep-fat fryers?

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