Health canada tracks e-cigarettes

As electronic cigarettes straddle the line between legal and illegal, Health Canada is trying to find out exactly how many of these devices are being sold.

Ottawa is about to spend up to $230,000 to study how many electronic cigarettes have been sold over the past two years as well as current monthly totals.

Electronic cigarettes are surging in popularity but exist in a legal grey zone. They can be sold if they release vapour but not nicotine. They also cannot be advertised as a healthy alternative to cigarettes.

But the devices can be sold with vapour cartridges that are easily swapped out for nicotine, and demand is booming.

I ve had (customers say) everything from you ve saved my lungs to you ve saved my marriage, said Phil Ralph, employee of the downtown Ottawa retailer e Steam.

The company is two years old but has expanded to 14 locations in Ontario. Buyers can purchase an electronic cigarette kit, starting around $80 and ranging up to hundreds of dollars.

Each device comes with a vapour cartridge. Vials of up to 24 milligrams of nicotine can be bought separately.

Ralph is himself a 12 year smoker who tried and failed several times to quit, but is now onto e cigarettes.

I haven t had a cigarette in over three months. The switch was seamless, he said.

But anti smoking groups have called for tighter restrictions on e cigarettes. The Canadian Lung Association called them gimmicky, unproven methods and urged smokers to use other methods.

The government has mostly followed suit.

To date there is not sufficient evidence that the potential benefits of e cigarettes in helping Canadians to quit smoking outweigh the potential risks, says a statement from Health Canada.

Without scientific evidence, Health Canada continues to advise Canadians against the use of these products.

Ottawa is now paying an outside company to sort out how many smoking cessation aids are being sold.

AC Nielsen of St. Laurent, Que., has been pegged for a $133,000 contract to study retail sales of electronic cigarettes and non pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapy products.

Health Canada wants to know how many have been sold in the past two years, plus ongoing monthly reports. The contract runs through all of fiscal 2014 2015, but can be renewed for a second year for $100,000.

The office of Health Minister Rona Ambrose isn t saying if the research could be used to craft new legislation.

I don t have any further info for you at this point, said spokesman Michael Bolkenius.

Bolkenius said Health Canada is currently sending out letters to e cigarette vendors to bring them into compliance with the laws.

He said e cigarette manufacturers would need to make the scientific case that the benefits of their products outweigh the harms. He said no companies have so far applied to have their products authorized.

Regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products, 40 attorneys general urge fda — cbs news

BOSTONA majority of state attorneys general are banding together to ask the federal government to start regulating e cigarettes, which currently may get into kids’ hands under current rules.

Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.

The new letter states e cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors, much like cigarettes were once marketed to hook new smokers.

14 Photos E cigs surge in popularity

The battery powered devices give users a vapor filled experience with nicotine and other additives

At the same time, e cigarettes are becoming more affordable and more widely available as the use of regular cigarettes declineas they become more expensive and less socially acceptable.

Last year, about 18 percent of U.S. adults said they were tobacco smokers, down from 19 percent in 2011.

The FDA does not have regulatory powers over e cigarettes unless the products claim to offer therapeutic benefits, such as for help quitting smoking. The agency’s Center for Tobacco Products arm at this time only regulates cigarettes, cigarette and roll your own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.

Without regulation, e cigarettes can be sold to minors in states that don’t restrict sales, critics point out.

«Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,» DeWine wrote.

Electronic cigarettes are metal or plastic battery powered devices resembling traditional cigarettes that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

E cigarettes are being advertised during prime time television hours at a time when many children are watching, according to the letter, which has led a surge in sales and use.

The health effects of e cigarettes have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated, the letter said.

«People, especially kids, are being led to believe that e cigarettes are a safe alternative, but they are highly addictive and can deliver strong doses of nicotine,» Coakley said.

Play Video Health E cigarette use among youths surges

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report that shows the number of middle and high school students that have tried e c…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in Sept. released a new report on e cigarette use among kids, which found 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e cigarettesin 2012. About 4.7 percent of students said they tried an e cigarette in 2011, but that number jumped to 10 percent by 2012 an increase CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden called «deeply troubling» earlier this month.

The youth increases mirrored upticks in adults thee CDC previously reported.

The letter urges the FDA to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients and sale to minors of e cigarettes. The decision has been delayed in the past, though the FDA has announced intentions to tighten regulation of the products.

Tom Kiklas, co founder and chief financial officer of the industry group, the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, agrees that e cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products. The group represents dozens of companies involved in the manufacture and sales of e cigarettes.

Play Video CBS Evening News Concern over more teens smoking e cigarettes

The CDC says the percentage of high school students who smoked e cigarettes more than doubled in just one year. Because they’re not FDA regulated…

«We’re in agreement with responsible restrictions on the marketing and sales of these products,» including a ban on marketing aimed at children, he said. «What I cringe at is when e cigarettes get demonized.»

The other states and territories joining the letter to the FDA, according to Coakley’s office, are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming.