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- Health Unit Applauds New Restrictions Taking Effect in 2016 on Sale and Supply of Electronic Cigarettes -

New rules are now in effect that govern the sale and supply of electronic cigarettes to minors in Ontario.

The new Electronic Cigarettes Act, which took effect on January 1, 2016, treats e-cigarettes like other tobacco products, in banning the sale and supply of e-cigarettes (and their vaping components) to anyone under 19 years of age.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is currently working with local businesses affected by the new Electronic Cigarettes Act. Over the coming months, Health Unit staff members will visit and provide educational materials – including the required signs to be posted – to help those affected stores understand their responsibilities so they can comply with the new law. The Health Unit is also responsible for enforcing the Electronic Cigarettes Act.

“There is a lot to learn with the new e-cigarettes law, so we will be providing people with the materials and resources they need to understand and comply with the new rules,” says Stephanie Logan, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Regulating e-cigarettes is important, especially as doing so will help to protect public health.”

While e-cigarettes do not appear to be as harmful as tobacco products, more and more research is raising flags about the long-term safety of using e-cigarettes. A study from Harvard University’s School of Public Health released in December 2015 found a chemical used in the vast majority of flavoured e-cigarettes has been linked to severe respiratory disease. Earlier in 2015, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found e-cigarettes produced formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.

As more research is done into the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, a more immediate concern health officials have is that e-cigarettes mimic smoking, making the practice of smoking tobacco appear acceptable, especially in public. “The use of the e-cigarettes threatens to undermine the progress we’ve made to ‘denormalize’ the use of tobacco in public places,” Logan notes. “There are also concerns e-cigarettes will serve as a gateway for people to start using tobacco products. That’s why banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors is an important first step in regulating e-cigarettes.”

Already, Health Unit staff members have noticed an increase in the number of local high school students using e-cigarettes over the past 12 months. This local finding is backed up by results from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey released in December 2015. The survey shows Ontario high school students are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are canisters used to simulate the act of smoking. Batteries heat up fluid-filled cartridges, turning the liquid into a vapour that can be inhaled and exhaled like tobacco smoke. Liquids in e-cigarettes often come in flavours such as bubble gum, cherry and candy cane that make them appealing to young people. Some of the devices may even contain nicotine in some concentrations. Unfortunately, actual amounts of the liquids are not always accurately reflected on container labelling.

To learn more about e-cigarettes and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca.

For media inquiries, contact:

In City of Kawartha Lakes: Stephanie Logan, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100 or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1321.

In Northumberland County: Lorne Jordan, Tobacco Control Inspector, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

In Haliburton County: Kris Kadwell, Tobacco Control Inspector, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391.

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