The long-term health effects of vaping are not yet known

On Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 in Debate

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Vancouver Kingsway for his ever-thoughtful and very comprehensive educational view of what Bill S-5 offers and what it does not.

I am in the same boat as the hon. member. I look forward to the opportunity to plug some of the holes in committee, in my capacity as a non-member of the committee summoned for clause by clause. However, I do want to press him a little, because while the initial evidence is very clear that vaping can help people give up smoking, and therefore the statistics he shared with us are well known, that it could be a very good smoking cessation technique, the long-term health effects are not yet known.

I am wondering if the member could share with us if there is any general medical concern about the direction of the long-term health effects. What kinds of health effects? Is there any sense of what the medical community is looking for in terms of epidemiology or lab tests? I am curious about that aspect of this new smoking cessation technique.

Don Davies – Member for Vancouver Kingsway

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her thoughtful and always rigorous questions. I do not think very many members do their homework as well as the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The member raises an excellent point. When the House’s Standing Committee on Health studied vaping products in March 2015, virtually all the expert testimony identified the apparent reduced harm to users of nicotine vaping products compared with users of combustible tobacco cigarettes. However, the experts also voiced concern about whether the reduction in harm for smokers justified the risks of introducing new nicotine products to the market.

Most of the testimony we have heard has to do with the policy considerations that we are struggling with about encouraging, in any way, the ingestion of nicotine. However, in terms of the actual epidemiological and health impacts of vaping, I think we need a lot more research and information on that. That is something I am looking forward to receiving in the committee to help us craft the kinds of regulations that we think are necessary for this new product.

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