Electronic cigarettes first appeared on the world scene in 2006, the year the NJOY® brand was born. Since that time, countries have taken different approaches to this technology. At one extreme, a number have banned the devices entirely, including Australia, Brazil and Singapore, with India and Hong Kong potentially poised to join their ranks. At the other end of the spectrum, in the United Kingdom, the public health establishment generally sees a positive role for vapor products for the smoker who cannot or will not quit smoking but is able to completely switch to vapor. In fact, a consensus statement signed by 13 public health organizations advocates for adult smokers to switch to vapor.
Perhaps some of the most interesting activity is taking place in Canada and New Zealand, two countries that initially outlawed electronic cigarettes, who now see vapor as a potential ally in the fight against smoking. In May 2018, Canada passed the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, formally legalizing vapor products. Health Canada, the Canadian counterpart to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., created a detailed information page on vaping, declaring unequivocally that “completely replacing cigarette smoking with a vaping product will reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals,” while also declaring that “if you’re not a smoker, vaping can increase your exposure to some harmful substances that could negatively affect your health.” New Zealand also moved to legalize vaping in 2018, and its Health Ministry launched an information page that declares that “smokers switching to e-cigarettes are highly likely to reduce their own health risks and do the same for those around them,” while also stating that electronic cigarettes “are not risk free.”