I am posting this personal email in hopes that Greater Toronto and Ontario residents who have found vapor products to be of value will write to the City of Toronto clerk and to the councellors / board members. You may want to tell your favourite journalists about it via twitter, reddit, facebook and emails. I am baffled by this motion. I continue to be saddned by lack of constructive work on part of Health Canada, but the City of Toronto going against vapor without getting their facts right, and that too trying to decide if i can have nicotine and flavours or not, not cool. I am not a Nicotine user anymore but I would like to reserve the right for it if I so choose. I have done my research and find Nicotine is probably less harmful than a can of Diet Coke.

from:  Ashutosh Jha <ashutosh@poafoundation.org>
to:  boh@toronto.ca
cc:  councillor_cho@toronto.ca,
councillor_doucette@toronto.ca,
councillor_filion@toronto.ca,
councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca,
councillor_perks@toronto.ca,
councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca,
aschein@toronto.ca,
Pamela.gough@tdsb.on.ca,
chefsuman@chefsuman.ca
Bcc: Several City Hall reporters and news desks. Lets see if anyone takes interest in this which I believe is a lot more important than Rob Ford.

 

This email is to the City of Toronto Clerk for the upcoming “E-cigarettes in Toronto” motion. I have copied some of the Board of Health members (with published emails) who are to vote on this motion on e-cigarettes, as well as some reporters who I respect and request they should consider taking a look at this much important topic which affects 1.2 million cigarette smokers in GTA, not to mention another million smokers who only smoke rarely or smoke shisha/cigar.

To the City Clerk: Please add my comments to the agenda for the August 18, 2014 Board of Health meeting on item 2014.HL33.1, E-cigarettes in Toronto (http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2014.HL33.1). I understand that my comments and the personal information in this email will form part of the public record and that my name will be listed as a correspondent on agendas and minutes of City Council or its committees. Also, I understand that agendas and minutes are posted online and my name may be indexed by search engines like google.

I am disappointed in City of Toronto and its Medical Officer of Health for the recommendations they have put forward in this motion. This is what would be considered waste of time and going after the wrong “guy”. I have attached some recent research and respectable opinion pieces on the topic, for the board members and media professionals who want to get real facts and data. 

As a resident of Toronto, I am completely against this motion, and any one who votes in favour of this motion should note that you are enabling perpetuation of single biggest preventable cause of death, smoking. Over 1.2 MIllion GTA residents are cigarette smokers. I would like to remind you that Vaping is NOT Smoking, and that Nicotine is just an addictive substance like caffeine. There has been enough medical evidence that e-cigarettes with nicotine are at least as good, or better than nicotine gums and patches which are readily available, and that smokers are actually excited about using them (See smokers toolkit data from england). I would think that the board should understand the concept of Tobaccco Harm Reduction and make decisions in that context.

A. Reference material for councillors and reporters:

A.1: Video by Clive Bates, who has worked for ASH – Action on Smoking and Health and UK government. He summarizes the distractions and clarifications against arguments similar to ones presented by Dr. David MCKEON:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_w7liRcdSI

A.2: Public Health and Electronic Cigarettes by David Sweanor in Journal of Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists: Attached

A.3: The Promise of E-Cigarettes for Tobacco Harm Reduction by Dr. Joel L. Nitzkin: Attached

A.4: 2014 Results from Smoking Toolkit Study in England. Electronic cigarettes in England – latest trends and what they mean: http://www.smokinginengland.info/latest-statistics/

A.5: Opinion piece by Dr. Peter Selby, Chief of the Addictions Program and Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/26/selby-sweanor-hughes-e-cigarettes-could-save-the-government-billions/ 

A.6: On 26 May 2014, fifty three specialists in nicotine science and public health policy wrote to Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO to argue that tobacco harm reduction is part of the solution to the burden of smoking related disease and requires a careful and evidence based approach to its regulation. http://nicotinepolicy.net/documents/letters/MargaretChan.pdf& then they wrote again in response to an alternate letter to WHO from a professor who is against e-cigs but forgot to base things on correct interpretation of data: http://nicotinepolicy.net/documents/letters/response-to-glantz-et-al-letter-to-who.pdf

B. My opinion as City of Toronto resident:
I present my input as a former smoker who used e-cigarettes to avoid tobacco cigarettes, and as someone who lost my 39 year old cousin to smoking few years ago. I am now dedicating my life to helping smokers find alternatives. Nicotine has never been proven to be the real problem, its the smoke and other chemicals that come with it in cigarettes that are to be blamed. My cousin would have a chance at staying alive if we had access to e-cigarettes, and now he is no more and his two kinds under 10 year old will never get a chance to see him again. I also request that they be not called “e-cigarettes” for discussion purposes and they be called “e-vaporizers”. The name e-cigarette brings out negative emotion in many and its not the right name if one is to have a fair and open discussion based on logic and data.

B.1: Why guilty without being proven so?
Why are nicotine based e-vaporizers being treated as being guilty, even though they have been proven to do no more harm than what the nicotine gums do or patches do.

B.2: Confused about difference in Nicotine, Vapor and Smoke!
If these are recommendations from Dr. David McKeown, I question his integrity and knowledge level about nicotine and vaporizers. Dr. 
McKeown seems to be confused about difference between smoke and vapor, and putting them together will just confirm that board is making a very uninformed decision. Vapor produced from e-cigarettes, and other personal electronic vaporizers, does not have any smoke in it, and research proves that its vapor has no harmful chemicals. I invite you to read results from this independent american study about whats in the vapor produced by e-cigarettes: http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/10/ntr.ntt203.short

In addition, if vapor from e-cigarettes is to be bundled with smoke from cigarettes, I request that vapor from coffee and tea be treated in the same category as they contain the addictive caffeine component. Consumables such as coffee and tea that produce vapor should also not be allowed in public places where smoking and vaping is banned.

B:3: Why not ban use and advertising of (flavoured) coffee and alcohol by the same logic?
I also recommend that since Dr. McKeown and the board are recommending ban of flavoured nicotine, they also ban flavoured coffee and flavoured alcohol use in public. We also suggest you completely ban advertising of all products with caffeine, alcohol and sugar. If they are not going to ban alcohol and coffee, please stay away from deciding what flavours I can use with nicotine. It is quite disrespectful of you to ban use of nicotine for me and the hundreds of thousands of other city of Toronto residents.

B.4. Choice should be mine, not City of Toronto on nicotine consumption and since vapor is NOT smoke, please don’t call it so!

While nicotine is addictive, much like sugar, caffeine and alcohol, it is not carcinogenic and I don’t want you to take to use a substance. Your responsibility is to inform me of its pros and cons and not to take it away.

Attachments: Sweanor CJRT July ’14 promise of e cig  &  Sweanor CJRT July ’14

Respectfully,

Ashutosh

Ashutosh Jha
Creative & Social Entrepreneur
M: +1.416.834.5274 (Canada) | E: ashutosh@POAfoundation.org | T: www.twitter.com/ajha1
“Life is short. People are busy. It’s not always about you.”