Regina vape shop owner disputes Health Canada warning
A man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago in this April 23, 2014 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Nam Y. Huh, File
Kayleen Sawatsky & Michaela Solomon
Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019 5:13PM CST
The owner of a Regina vape shop says he’s paying close attention to news from the United States of five deaths related to vaping.
For most, this comes as a warning to be cautious of what they inhale. For Mike Smider, there is also a need to protect his business.
"I have seen a slight decrease in business, nothing too concerning. It's mostly customers coming in with questions about it and me setting them straight," Smider, owner of Queen City Vapes said.
Last week, Health Canada released a statement warning the public of pulmonary illnesses that could result from vaping.
Smider disagrees with Health Canada and says his products are safe. He thinks the warnings stem from cannabis products.
“They haven't made the distinction between what type of vaping it is,” he said. “You can vape cannabis products, you can also vape e-liquid."
According to Health Canada’s website, warnings are related to nicotine found in e-liquid, as well as the presence of formaldehydes, nickel, tin and aluminum. Patients have reported vaping THC oils in combination with nicotine products.
Before the government warnings, users were drawn to vaping as a seemingly safe way to quit smoking cigarettes.
“My blood pressures back to normal,” Queen City Vapes customer Graeme Busse said. “I can breathe; I can go running again, do all the activities I used to do."
Busse credits vaping for helping him quit smoking.
Smider says some e-liquids at his store do contain nicotine; but there are types that don't contain any additives other than flavouring.
Despite the positive testimonies, experts say the lack of scientific proof means people are still putting themselves at risk.
"Many of these flavouring compounds are considered safe when we ingest them orally, but when you ingest those chemicals and inhale them into the lungs, they actually change in their chemical composition,” Respirologist Dr. Erika Penz said. “There are over 7000 chemicals on the market. We don't know what each and every compound does when you heat it…When you're going to use these vape devices in that setting, you're taking a risk."
Health Canada recommends vapers monitor themselves for any symptoms of pulmonary illness and to see a doctor for any lung related problems.