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Vaping a good thing if it can stop smoking, says pharmacist and quit coach

THUNDER BAY -- For one local pharmacist and quit coach, if vaping can stop people from smoking it's a good thing.
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(tbnewswatch.com file photograph)

THUNDER BAY -- For one local pharmacist and quit coach, if vaping can stop people from smoking it's a good thing.

Bryan Gray, a pharmacist who's also certified through the Ontario Pharmacists Association to prescribe quitting smoking agents, said he's asked all the time by about vaping and e-cigarettes when they're looking to stop smoking. It can help with the hand-to-mouth part of smoking and other behaviours beyond the nicotine addiction.

"If it helps then quit I think that's a good thing," he said.

Gray said there still haven't been a lot of studies on the health effects of vaping, unlike countless studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of things like nicotine patches or pills. But it's most likely a lot safer than a cigarette for delivering nicotine.

"It's all the other ingredients in a cigarette that cause cancer and lung disease and heart risks," he said.

Other e-cigarettes have no nicotine at all, which can also help as a substitute for the rhythm and behaviours that go along with smoking.

The concern out there is that governments and other agencies have spent years and millions of dollars making smoking look like a bad thing as a way to deter younger generations from picking up the habit. Vaping could be seen as a way of normalizing that behaviour again if it's seen in restaurants or parks or anywhere else conventional smoking has been banned.

"Is it going to be portrayed that smoking is no longer a bad health decision," Gray said.

A ban on using e-cigarettes in public space sand workplaces in Ontario, which was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1 was delayed by the province last month.