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Paediatr Child Health. 2015 Mar;20(2):101-5.

E-cigarettes: Are we renormalizing public smoking? Reversing five decades of tobacco control and revitalizing nicotine dependency in children and youth in Canada.

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Past president of the Canadian Paediatric Society.


in English, French

An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a battery attached to a chamber containing liquid that may (or may not) contain nicotine. The battery heats the liquid and converts it into a vapour, which is inhaled, mimicking tobacco smoking. The e-cigarette does not rely on tobacco as a source of nicotine but, rather, vaporizes a liquid for inhalation. E-liquids are often flavoured and may contain nicotine in various concentrations, although actual amounts are seldom accurately reflected in container labelling. The deleterious effects of nicotine on paediatric health are well established. The use of e-cigarettes in the paediatric age group is on the rise in Canada, as are associated nicotine poisonings. E-devices generate substantial amounts of fine particulate matter, toxins and heavy metals at levels that can exceed those observed for conventional cigarettes. Children and youth are particularly susceptible to these atomized products. Action must be taken before these devices become a more established public health hazard. Policies to denormalize tobacco smoking in society and historic reductions in tobacco consumption may be undermined by this new 'gateway' product to nicotine dependency.


Healthy public policy; Heavy metal exposure; Nicotine dependency; Nicotine poisoning; Normalization; Smoking; Vaping

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