How vaping became the new smoking

How vaping became the new smoking


[Reporter] A new generation is hooked on an old drug. And make no mistake, nicotine can damage a developing brain. At Richfield collegiate in Toronto grade nine students are just learning about the dangers of vaping. [School bell rings] [Teacher] So learning goals for today’s class: Why e-cigarettes and vaping
are so popular with youth lately. Question two: so e-cigarettes are devices
that produce nicotine and are addictive in the form of A) vapor B) steam C) aerosol… [Reporter] New numbers reveal alarming increases among vaping in youth. [Teacher] We just want to ask a couple questions. I think it would be more comfortable for you if you did this with your eyes closed or heads on your desk if you’d like. And so first question is how many of you know someone who vapes? Okay. [Reporter] 25 to 30% of Canadian high school students admit to vaping nicotine in the past month. People just really thought it was really cool. People were saying that, ‘Oh, it’s just
water’ and that made you think that vaping was okay and that it was like nothing really. Other answers are great. We knew those were correct as well but
yes all of the above — [Reporter] Educators like Janine Davies are trying to undo those messages explaining the dangers of inhaling heated chemicals and how they were lured into it to begin with. I really wanted them to see that what the big tobacco companies did was they found a new product and they found a new way to market something towards teens because cigarettes weren’t working anymore. I’m Jenny McCarthy. And I finally found a smarter alternative to cigarettes. [Reporter] Enticing kids with sweet flavors cool tricks celebrities and clever marketing on social media. The more they learn, the more some feel abandoned by governments and duped by big tobacco. Now big vape in its new form. Obviously, they should care but I don’t think they really care because they just want the money. When you endorse it and you make it popular people really want to try that and be like okay so vaping is actually normal. Normal and cool just like cigarettes in the 1950s. You’ll feel better about smoking with a
taste of Kent. Kind tasting to your throat. Kind tasting to your taste buds. [Reporter] But what happened to the lessons learned from smoking? How could yet another highly addictive untested and potentially deadly product end up on store shelves right next to candy? We call them heated tobacco sticks. [Reporter] David Hammond is a public health professor at the University of Waterloo. The irony is we got here through an attempt to help adult smokers. We still have five million adults smokers. One out of every two or three are likely to die unless they quit. In 2009, Health Canada was advising Canadians not to use e-cigarettes or vaping devices stating there could be health risks. The devices were not authorized as smoking cessation aids and according to Health Canada hazardous to the health of children. But a vocal group of public health experts including Hammond supported the potential benefits of vaping. I remember testifying to to one of the federal committees and saying smokers should have access to these. We need to be honest with smokers that they’re not going to be as harmful as smoking. It’s been marketed as safe and it’s really misled them. [Reporter] Experts including Dr. Richard Stanwick argued right back insisting big vape hadn’t even proven the safety or effectiveness of their products. Absolutely no evidence to suggest that these were going to be helpful in getting people off of cigarettes. [Reporter] In 2015, Stanwick wrote a paper warning vaping or e-cigarettes could end up renormalizing public smoking. Reversing five decades of tobacco control and revitalizing nicotine dependency in children. But his side was losing the public health debate. We’re just seen as luddites that these are nervous Nellie’s that they have found the solution it’s almost evangelical in this movement that the the vape industry is the one that’s going to solve the the cigarette problem. And we’re here to talk about the bill s-5 an act to amend the tobacco act. [Reporter] Just last year, Health Canada made it official. This bill is a key element of the government’s broader tobacco control agenda. Putting basic restrictions on the manufacturing, sale, labeling and promotion of vape products. Nothing near the strict rule slapped on cigarettes. At the same time, high dose nicotine products like Juul were entering the market and already appealing to children. Suddenly both sides of the public health debate agreed Health Canada’s regulations were far too weak. This is a nightmare for everybody. So we’re failing both target markets, we’re not protecting kids and we’re not actually doing a good job getting the products in the hands of people who could benefit which is adults smokers to quit. What does the future market hold? It can’t look like it is today. Governments will need to take meaningful action so that we’re still not talking about this problem and scratching our heads about what to do two, three, four or five years from now. Unlike health regulators in the United States who’ve declared a youth vaping epidemic Health Canada has said relatively little about the rising number of children using nicotine nor would it agree to an interview to talk
about the crisis in kids. It’s failed attempt to help smokers quit or what it plans to do next. Back at Richview, Jeannine Davies is teaching her students how to be media savvy in the new world of vaping. On the left we’ve got an old classic cigarette ad. On the right we’ve got a new ad for a vaping product. So can you see the similarities between the two of them. [Reporter Experts say the number of children vaping in this country hasn’t plateaued yet. And for the first time in decades Big Tobacco has a growing market and a range of new nicotine delivery products are coming. As young Canadians quietly breathe new life into a dangerous old habit. And we have Christine joining us now along with CBC’s Medical Sciences correspondent Kellie Crowe and of course her story
vape fail now available at CBC news dot CA so Christine let’s start with you
though because I mean in your piece we see more and more young people vaping
and yet these devices are illegal for kids so big question what are they
getting with I had the exact same question and after that health class was
over I asked a group of grade 9 girls if they’d stay behind and try to answer
some of these questions for me because I honestly thought they were buying them
online and the girl said well we don’t have credit cards they said that some
kids will buy prepaid credit cards and grocery stores which are meant to be
gift cards but that’s not how the bulk of them are getting them they’re
actually picking them up at home so mom or dad or an older sibling has tried
beeping maybe they try to flavor and they don’t like it and then they leave
them just lying around and they just get picked up right from the counters right
from the shelves and also the other way that they’re getting them and it’s the
same way that kids got cigarettes and they got booze is there’s always a
trusted adult involved and they go and buy them for them but it is so easy for
them to get their hands on them the girl said to me if you want we’ll take you
out to the schoolyard right now we can go buy some cartridges if you want
interesting um and speaking of adults though I mean Kelly when you look at
when a cigarette first hit the market I mean there was this suggestion out there
that hey this could be a really useful tool in helping adults quits
looking how much scientific evidence was there to back that up that that would
happen well actually it wasn’t just a suggestion the entire federal policy is
based on this what is essentially an unproven hypothesis that this would work
to help smokers quit in fact as the policy was being developed there was not
enough or really any evidence and as it stands right now this the studies that
are coming in are suggesting that these are 85 to 95 percent ineffective so
people are smokers are starting vaping but many of them are just keeping
continuing to smoke right so now we have dual users so so Christine the I mean
the experts that you’ve spoken to what do they say needs to happen that I would
say the top three that I’ve heard in terms of changes would be to get rid of
all the ads limit the number of flavors because that’s what’s drawing the kids
in young people yeah exactly and also to lower the nicotine levels
right now in Canada the limit is 60 milligrams per milliliter and that is
three times what the live limit is in Europe the this whole policy was
designed to create as much access as possible with a nod to trying to
possibly more than not with an intention of restricting access to kids now that
we’ve seen that this hasn’t prevented youth uptake the people are calling for
a restriction in provinces and municipalities across the country are
working on ways to narrow access to these devices Kelly Christine thanks
very much welcome you

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