U.K. says vaping is safer than tobacco

Re: “Why do the billionaire Koch brothers care about our pot?” column, Oct. 9.

Good one, Jack Knox.

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But I’m still waiting for the Capital Regional District’s Clean Air Bylaw to catch up to the growing body of evidence that shows that electronic cigarettes pose no material risk to bystanders.

Victorians wax nostalgic (used to, anyway) for anything British. Our colonial roots run deep and long (heck, what newspaper is this again?). Isn’t it interesting then that Public Health England (Britain’s analog to our own Health Canada) concludes that electronic cigarettes are more than 95 per cent less risky to users than tobacco cigarettes and pose no identified risk to bystanders.

PHE credits electronic cigarettes for helping many of the nearly 400,000 Britons who quit smoking in 2017. It says that 52 per cent of current vapers in the U.K. quit cigarettes completely.

In order to encourage smokers to shift to a far less harmful alternative, PHE recommends that public and private institutions should create separate tobacco and electronic cigarette policies, and that such policies should permit using e-cigarettes where tobacco cigarettes are otherwise prohibited (even indoors … gasp!).

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of watching municipalities and other public and private institutions limit people’s behaviour for no other reason than: “Ew, that looks icky.” We owe it to our citizens to encourage them to embrace healthy lifestyles.

If a citizen puffing an electronic cigarette (legally) in Centennial Square isn’t a symbol of Victoria’s progressive approach to public health, then I don’t know what is.

D.W. Roland Stacey

Victoria

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