Tobacco and Vaping Products

About smoking

Cigarette-smoking and tobacco addiction is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada. Tobacco use not only ups the risk of lung cancer, it leads to COPD, and contributes to the early deaths of more than 37,000 Canadians every year. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful and there’s mounting evidence that third-hand smoke - the residue trapped in furniture, carpet and fabric - is dangerous.

For information on the harms of smoking, as well as help to quit, QuitNow can help! QuitNow is the FREE quit smoking program of the Government of British Columbia, delivered by the British Columbia Lung Association. 

About vaping & vaping products

Vapour products are battery powered devices that heat a liquid solution to deliver an aerosol that the users inhale. The liquid inside the cartridge is called e-liquid or e-juice which often contains a carrier solvent of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerol, nicotine and flavours consisting of chemicals and other harmful substances.

What are the health effects associated with using vapour products?

The long-term health effects of using vapour products are currently unknown and under scientific examination. However, several studies suggest that health effects of vaping can be similar to those of cigarette smoking. These include the development of lung disease, heart disease and some types of cancer. Short-term health effects include coughing, sneezing, exacerbation in asthma symptoms and increased heart rate. Additionally, defective vapour products batteries can cause fires and explosions and result is serious injuries.

Are vapour products a less harmful alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes?

There is a misconception among youth and adults alike that vapour products don't carry any of the harms of smoking cigarettes. Vapour products are in fact harmful and not safe for youth consumption.

For heavy smokers, vaping presents a less harmful alternative if used as a complete substitute for traditional cigarettes. While less harmful compared to traditional smoking, the use of vapour products still exposes the lungs to heavy metals such as lead, particulate matter, nicotine and other cancer-causing toxins. 

Youth and e-cigarettes 

There is an increasing trend in the use of vapour products among youth. Vaping is becoming more prominent among this demographic due to a wide range of convenient devices, appealing flavours and loosely regulated marketing.  The 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey (CTADS) indicated that 23% of Canadian youth, aged 15-19 years old, have tried e-cigarettes. There are concerns that consumers of vapour products are more likely to transition to traditional cigarettes in later years.

Vaping products should only be used by people who currently smoke and are looking to quit, as vaping is less harmful than smoking. However, vaping is harmful for people who have never smoked. 

Other evidence-based resources


Health Canada on Smoking, Vaping and Tobacco

HealthLink BC 

Page Last Updated: 24/04/2019