I’ve found myself somewhat amused by all the foofrah around the incident of an eleven year old kid being sold a so-called e-cigarette at a neighborhood convenience store. I believe it was a shop operated by Asians and since kids in China begin smoking at about 5 the proprietor probably didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Though he has since expressed contrition over the matter and said it wouldn’t happen again.
Since I grew up in the halcyon era of candy cigarettes — “Look kids, you can have a smoke just like Daddy.” — I cannot help but find myself bemused by all the fuss.
Of course, the e-cigarette is a kind of pretend cigarette that operates electronically and involves no noxious and potentially lethal smoke like the ‘real ones’ that are still fully legal, by the way. So, with them the smoker can go into an eatery or a bar or even an airplane and puff away and gain some of the esthetic pleasures of the real thing. Reportedly they have proved a bit of a godsend in getting people to quit a potentially lethal habit and in that I applaud the concept. As anybody who has quit knows kicking the weed is a brutal business and while therapies like patches, gums and drugs can help, the e-cigarettes have developed a pretty decent track record in dealing with the process. And hey, they even look a bit ‘cool’, like the real thing. You can still pretend to be Bogey while you try to ignore what ultimately happened to him.
Yep, I believe that e-cigarettes could be the ticket in quite seriously getting us rid of a societal scourge.
But, not in Canada, That’s right, not in Canada. We do have e-ciggies but we don’t have them with nicotine in them, What does a smoker want? He or she wants nicotine. The addictive substance that got smokers hooked on the weed. Why do smokers want nicotine? Because they are addicts. They are addicted to the substance every bit as much as the alcoholic is addicted to booze, or the junkie to heroin.
While nicotine containing e-fags are available in the US and can be acquired on-line, they are not available in stores. In lieu the hapless smoker trying to reform is left with substances like cinnamon and god knows probably bubble gum. Sort of defeats the purpose. I reiterate, smokers are addicts. Ask any reformed booze addict and they will tell you that getting off the sauce was easy compared with quitting smoking.
So, why don’t we have nicotine-containing e-butts in Canada? Because Health Canada says we mustn’t. They maintain that the jury is still out on the safety of nicotine-containing e-ciggies. They maintain this folderol and meanwhile a certain percentage of the population is still puffing away on those regular old ‘legal’ cigarettes that are openly sold – albeit not to 11-year-olds.
It doesn’t compute. Yet it does. Health Canada gets a lot of its information from the medical community.
The medical community knows very little about addiction so don’t seek your information there, in my esteem. When I was addictions counseling I once had a client who was trying to kick a heroin addiction. But, he had prescribed drugs from the doctor in his home town. The prescribed drug was a powerful opiate. He was trying to kick an even more powerful (though not by much) opiate and this practitioner was giving him ‘Hillbilly Heroin.”
I spoke with the doctor and the doctor got highly indignant that I should try to tell her (it was a female) what to prescribe. I told her she obviously knew nothing about addiction and that his prescription to that substance was ending. She got even more indignant as did I. But, the call was mine, blessedly.
My point being, and I don’t mean to suggest ‘all’ doctors know nothing about addiction, but if doctors are giving Health Canada advice on e-cigarettes they’re out to lunch,