According to a study led by Dalhousie University, it’s estimated that 15 percent of young adults in Canada use vapes regularly, with many believing the practice is safer than smoking cigarettes.
The study is aiming to examine whether or not vaping causes lung damage later in life.
“I’m really interested and impressed that this is going forward, because we’re going to be able to see what those early detections are from lung damages that may be popping up here, and help individuals that want to decrease or quit vaping,” Lindsay Willoner, Regional Nursing Lead for Cannabis, Tobacco, and Vapour Reduction for Northern Health.
“Studies like this really help us in paving the way and knowing the outcomes for future consumers, and it’s really important for people to know that we don’t know the long-term consequences of vaping and the unknown exposures to even secondary harm.”
Willoner added it’s been hard to gather data on how many young people were vaping in Northern Health because of the pandemic.
“What we do know was from the 2018 McCreary Health Survey, about 24 percent of students were vaping in the Northern Health Region, and they were using nicotine products,” Willoner explained.
Similar to smoking, Willoner says many commercial vaping products do use nicotine, which is the part of the product that is most addictive.
“On top of that the commercial tobacco products have ongoing exposure to harmful chemicals,” Willoner said.
“We do see that in some vapour aerosol too, there may be heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.”
She adds there has been plenty of federal regulation on advertising, packaging and labeling vaping products.
“BC has been on the forefront in 2019 with decreasing nicotine concentration levels, and we’re seeing it pushed across the nation now,” she explained.
“In a realistic approach, it would be that we would cap all nicotine at 20 mg/ml, so that it aligns with best practice.”
Willoner added that resources and supports who are looking to decrease or quit vaping are available at quitnow.ca.