Electronic cigarettes are the newest way to consume tobacco. E-cigarettes produce a vapour from liquid inside the e-cigarette that is vapourized by a heating element. Proponents of “vaping” suggest that it is a useful tool to quit smoking, as it allows users to feed their nicotine addiction while avoiding the carcinogens of smoking a cigarette.
The question of whether vaping is safe is a question that requires further study. While second hand vapours have not been shown to be as dangerous as second hand smoke, studies have revealed that many e-cigarettes contain diacetyl, a chemical known to cause irreversible lung disease in workers with prolonged exposure.
On October 1, 2015, an amendment to the Smoke Free Ontario Actthat prohibited anyone from smoking in a vehicle with an occupant under the age of 16 came into effect. With the exception of Nunavut, the North West Territories, Newfoundland, and Quebec, all provinces and territories have laws limiting smoking in vehicles with underage occupants.
In 2016, the Ontario Government amended the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015, to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in a vehicle with an occupant under the age of 16. However, no date has been announced on when the amendment will become law.
In addition to the potential long term health impact, vaping in vehicles presents an immediate safety hazard. The vapour produced from a single exhalation is significant, and could result in a reduction of a driver’s ability to see the road. A driver whose vision is impaired because of vaping would likely be found at fault for any resulting collision.
Regardless of any future scientific findings as to the safety of vaping in vehicles, a universal truth remains: if you can’t see, you shouldn’t drive.