Council voted to amend its non-smoking bylaw on town property to include E-cigarettes, following a presentation by Krista McMullin, the Tobacco Reduction Strategy co-ordinator for the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
"They are a gateway to smoking (tobacco products by youth)," McMullin told council, adding that the use of E-cigarettes makes it seem to young people that smoking is "OK."
"They are perceived as safe," she said. "We're not sure of that."
As well, the 8,000 flavours - such as candy, bubble gum and coffee - and about 400 brands of E-cigarettes currently available, McMullin said, have created a "burgeoning popularity" for the products
"So why do youth try E-cigarettes?" she said. "The taste. They like the taste."
McMullin presented figures from a Stats Can study that show that nine per cent (2.5 million of the Canadian population 15 years and older have tried an E-cigarette.
That includes 20 per cent (417,000) of the population aged between 15 and 19 and also 20 per cent (488,000) of the population between the ages of 20 and 24.
Comparatively, 11 per cent (225,000) of the 15- to 19-age population attested to using tobacco along with 18 per cent (435,000) of the population aged 20 to 24.
The Stats Can information also shows that adolescents who used E-cigarettes were more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products within a year.
"They are a gateway to smoking," McMullin told council, adding that the use of E-cigarettes makes it seem to young people that smoking is "OK."
That age group is also vulnerable to the toxic effects of nicotine on brain growth, she said.
Research has also shown, McMullin said, that some E-cigarette users inhale deeper than tobacco smokers because they get a "stronger hit" by doing so.
And the growing demand for electronic smoking products has not gone unnoticed by big tobacco companies, who are either buying E-cigarette companies or producing their own products, she said.
"And, it is addictive," said councillor Raymond Tynes, who introduced the motion to amend the non-smoking bylaw.
– One of the ingredients in the E-liquids is propylene glycol, for which the long-term risks of inhalation are unknown;
– Lack of quality controls and manufacturing standards;
– Incomplete labeling, ingredients not fully disclosed;
– Unproven tobacco cessation claims;
– Increased social exposure and promotion of smoking;
– E-cigarettes lead to smoking/nicotine addiction among youth;
– Dual use increase in a tobacco consumption