February 4, 2016 7:27 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 12:49 am

Health Minister taking “cautious” approach to vaping regulation

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REGINA – While the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) wants to see a province wide vaping ban in public spaces, the province has no immediate plans of instituting a ban.

“Where I’m cautious on this one is there was a study that came out of Public Health in the United Kingdom that says vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said on Wednesday.

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The study Duncan referred to was published by Public Health England (PHE) in August 2015. Since then, it has received heavy criticism from The British Medical Journal and The Lancet.

The Lancet references panelists who took part in the study who cited a “lack of hard evidence for the harms of most products of the criteria”, which the PHE report left out. The Lancet also said there’s a potential conflict of interest, as one of the panelists in the PHE study worked as a consultant for an e-cigarette distributor.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan health minister urges caution over issue of vaping in public

Back on our side of the Atlantic, Donna Pasiechnik, tobacco control manager with the Canadian Cancer Society, said “the jury is still out” on the health impacts of vaping. This isn’t the only area of study that is still hazy.

“For every study that says electronic cigarettes can help a person quit, there’s another study that throws that into question and says it can make quitting smoking more difficult,” she explained.

“If the goal is to help end people’s use of tobacco, it is anecdotal at this point, but certainly people have found success in reducing their reliance on tobacco because of vaping,” Duncan said.

Pasiechnik said the Cancer Society applauds SUMA for the anti-vaping resolution, and they will also continue to advocate the government to add the practice to existing smoking regulations.

“By allowing electronic cigarettes to be used where smoking is banned, we risk undermining decades of tobacco control,” she said.

“People have become used to not smoking in public places, so why would we allow the use of electronic cigarettes?”

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