August 18, 2015
While showing their support for the government of Quebec regarding the adoption of Bill 44: An Act to bolster tobacco control, the MHI, the association des cardiologues du Québec and the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie du Québec (IUCPQ) have tabled a brief that includes measures to prevent diseases related to tobacco consumption and, more specifically, ways to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.
In terms of measures to reduce tobacco consumption, the three organizations recommend a smoking ban on properties owned by health care facilities and the installation of a closed smoking room equipped with an independent ventilation system in CHSLDs. In addition, they recommend prohibiting the use of flavouring, such as menthol, and adopting plain packaging for tobacco products.
The specialists who have tabled the brief believe that electronic cigarettes are another way to provide smokers with an acceptable, efficient and safer substitute to tobacco that allows them to obtain the desired nicotine dose. Indeed, an electronic cigarette does not use a combustion process that generates harmful and carcinogenic substances. Furthermore, the quantity of nicotine it contains does not pose any significant health risks and the level of harmful substances in electronic cigarette vapour is 9 to 450 times lower than in tobacco cigarette smoke. “It’s important to keep in mind that there are several observational studies that show a high smoking cessation rate (around 50%) with the use of electronic cigarettes,” said Martin Juneau, cardiologist and Director of prevention at the MHI.
The association des cardiologues du Québec, the MHI and the IUCPQ do not want to needlessly limit access to electronic cigarettes and hinder their appeal as an alternative for smokers. The three organizations also want to encourage discussion and find ways to help health care professionals provide better support to smokers. To do so, they have made the following recommendations: keep allowing the sale of electronic cigarette flavours as long as they are safe so they remain an appealing product, allow the use of these products in specialized boutiques and in smoking cessation clinics, permit electronic cigarettes displays in order to keep the products accessible.
The association des cardiologues du Québec, the MHI and the IUCPQ hope that the government of Quebec adopts a public health stance that promotes a reduction of risks rather than a moral approach that aims for a complete prohibition of nicotine.
About the Montreal Heart Institute
Founded in 1954 by Dr. Paul David, the Montreal Heart Institute constantly aims for the highest standards of excellence in the cardiovascular field through its leadership in clinical and basic research, ultra-specialized care, professional training and prevention. It is part of the broad network of health excellence made up of Université de Montréal and its affiliated institutions.
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