By: Laura Guerrero Guevara, Mateo Castaneda, Wasim Zaitoun and Semyon Dovzhik

24-years-old, Jamila Apolinario smoking (Photo by Laura Guerrero)

According to Dr. Michael Chaiton, since its legalization in 2018, the popularity of vaping among young people has doubled twice and so have health concerns.

According to Health Canada, there have now been 17 cases of illness related to vaping. The first patient was confirmed in Montreal last fall.

According to Dr. Michael Chaiton, an independent scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, unlike cigarettes, vapes do not have combustion, the real issue is the chemicals inside the pods.

“One that’s been a concern recently is the addition of other chemicals into the vape;

the vitamin E acetate that is thought to have been associated with a thousand cases

of lung injury in the US,” said Dr. Chaiton.

He explains vapes create a minuscule particle that is suspected of causing physical damage to the lung.

E-cigarettes were first introduced in Canada in 2004. They were sold to the public as a less harmful alternative to smoking. Since then, vaping has grown in popularity from about seven million users in 2011 to 41 million in 2018. Market research group Euromonitor estimates that the number of adults who vape will reach almost 55 million by 2021 worldwide.

Jamila Apolinario is one of the thousands who joined the trend.

“I have been smoking for a long time and having vape is kind of a new feeling. New flavors, stuff like that, so it is kind of fun,” said Apolinario. 

”Unlike cigarettes when you go inside the room you’ll smell like tobacco or something like that, but if you vape they only can smell like sweet menthol or whatever flavor you have when you vape.”

Dr. Chaiton says the flavor is a critical factor in the increasing popularity of vaping among young people.

“This is more about youth increase and it’s driven by things like the introduction of Juuls and the other pod like nicotine delivery devices, the availability of new types of flavors, convenience stores, and sort of the advertising that has been allowed,” said Dr. Chaiton.

Since January 1st of this year, Ontario has banned vaping advertisements in convenience stores and gas stations. The government says the promotion of e-cigarettes products will only be allowed in specialty vape and cannabis stores, which are only open to people over 19.

Earlier this month the Ontario government announced it plans to go one step further and ban the sale of most flavored vapes in convenience stores and gas stations and limit nicotine levels.


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