Jan Hajek | August 14th, 2017
Cigarette smoking kills. We know this. The numbers are staggering; every day, more than a hundred Canadians die due to cigarette smoke.
As a province, we have banded together and have declared a public health emergency to address the catastrophic surge in opioid/fentanyl-related drug overdoses, and rightfully so. We have embraced safe injection sites, opioid substitution therapy, even providing injectable heroin to some people.
But, despite incontrovertible evidence that e-cigarettes and vaping (using similar technology to concert smoke machines) is much safer than smoking, it seems to me that we are doing very little to offer it as a harm reduction option to people with nicotine addiction.
Every day, at VGH, a few people smoke cigarettes on their breaks outside – next to signs that admonish them to not vape or smoke near the hospital.
Now, I recognize that cigarettes are not heroin, and vaping is not methadone – but, if we are serious about reducing harm from second-hand cigarette smoke, and, if we are serious about reducing the harm to our friends and coworkers, when they go outside for a smoke break, shouldn’t we encourage them to vape instead?