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The Great Vape Debate

Canadian Health regulators have been largely silent on how they plan to regulate the e-cig industry
Canadian Health regulators have been largely silent on how they plan to regulate the e-cig industry
Reuters News 2014

By Paul Fitzgerald - J’adore For Her E-Cig Company Weighs in on Acceptance on Vaping in Public

In just a couple of years since electronic cigarettes entered the Canadian market, the popularity of the devices has exploded big time.

“Vaping continues to increase in popularity and has entered pop culture consciousness in movies and on series such as House of Cards,” says Steve Muzaic, Vice President of Dune Vapor Group, based in Calgary, AB.

His company, known nationally and globally, has just launched Vapor J’adore For Her. The company’s new product line includes an array of sleek and stylish electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) for women. And their non-nicotine products are a big hit locally and globally.

He adds, “There are vaping cafes popping up all across Canada where enthusiasts learn about the newest devices and e-juice flavour cartridges. There are even online vapologists who can recommend e-cigarette juice the way a sommelier might recommend a wine,” he says.

But even as vaping is becoming more commonplace the legal status of the devices is still in question. With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. announcing their e-cigarette regulations on April 24, 2014, Canadian Health regulators have been largely silent on how they plan to regulate the growing industry, and if you ask Muzaic this is understandable.

“The e-cig industry is still relatively new,” he says. “Sure, many people including doctors, health officials and anti-tobacco advocates have concerns. However, what’s interesting is the support the industry is getting. E-cigs are getting a closer look because so many people are saying they are helping them kick the nicotine habit for good.”

Take Melanie Pritchard for example. The 43 year-old Calgary native quit cigarettes almost a year ago. She smoked since she was 14 and wished she never started.

What cured her pack-a-day habit? E-cigs, she says.

“I always wanted to be a non-smoker,” says Pritchard. “I admit I was totally hooked. The nicotine is like a bad demon that you somehow just can’t let go of. Then a friend of mine suggested I try vaping. Once I did it, I was sold right away. It took about a month or so for me to get used to not having any nicotine, and the e-cigs helped out in a big way with the hand to mouth motion.”

Melodie Tilson, the director of policy for the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, believes e-cigarettes could be helpful to smokers, pointing to two high quality studies that found that e-cigarettes can be as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit.

“So we want a regulatory framework that protects non-smokers and at the same time, gives smokers access to a product that could help them quit,” says Tilson during an interview with CTV.

Muzaic says the problem is that Health Canada is having trouble deciding how to classify this product category.

“The FDA recently announced an advanced notice of proposed deeming regulations on ‘other’ tobacco products including e-cigs,” he says. “The proposed deeming regulations are broad as expected and not as strict as some had feared. In general, they increase the barriers to entry for existing manufacturers, which is positive. Based on the preliminary regulations, our company and products are fully compliant, and we are looking forward to a regulatory ruling from Health Canada as well.”

Kate Ackerman, director of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada, supports Muzaic’s insight.

“Cigarettes produce smoke. So that’s smoking. Electronic cigarettes produce vapour. So that’s vaping,” says Ackerman during an interview with CTV.

Muzaic indicates that his company’s new line of e-cigs for women is taking off in a big way.

“Our market research showed that half of the smoking population in Canada and the USA are women, and over half of all e-cig users are women.”

“Realizing that there was a big market opportunity, we asked ourselves: How can we create a premium offering in e-cigarettes that is designed with the modern woman in mind?”

His company commissioned a team of social anthropologists to visit popular vaping locations to better understand what women in particular were looking for in an e-cigarette. Key insights emerged and exposed that the e-cigarettes that were available on the market were too big and heavy.

“Our anthropologists learned that while an e-cigarette closely imitates a tobacco cigarette in appearance, the majority of women did not want to look like they were smoking a tobacco cigarette. Using this data to understand our customer, we developed a premium quality product that offers an ultra-slim and light weight design, and features a soft-tip filter and genuine crystal element. Vapor J’adore combines style with innovation and is available in 5 fashion forward colors.”

The ‘butt out and vape in’ movement is now in full swing.

According to Well Fargo, e-cigs soon will be a $4-billion industry, and in a few years’ time that number is expected to reach $14-billion.

Jennifer Miller, vice-president of health promotion with the Canadian Lung Association, also wants more done on research involving vaping.

“I think we owe it to millions of Canadians who are addicted to tobacco products. If there’s a product out there that may have some merit to bring down those numbers, then we have to look at it,” she says.

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