Smoking and Vaping

More than 1 billion people smoke globally, including 12% of Canadians, and 9.6% of British Columbians (1), and reported rates of e-cigarette use in Canadian youth, aged 15-19, is 13% (2). There is substantial evidence for a direct link of smoking to debilitating or fatal conditions such as cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular ailments. Smoking is estimated to kill more than 45,000 Canadians each year (3) and over 6000 deaths per year in BC (4) alone. With regards to vaping, its short- and long-term health effects and its potential use as a harm reduction tool for tobacco smokers remain uncertain.

Smoking cessation is an important component of prevention and treatment of COPD (5). There are well-established smoking cessation treatment guidelines, which suggest combination pharmacotherapy (nicotine replacement therapy plus medication) with behavioural counseling (6) as effective interventions. Conversely, there is a stark paucity of evidence related to interventions for vaping cessation, particularly in youth populations which needs to be addressed. Importantly, there is a lack of equitable access to smoking cessation or vaping care in BC, as services and initiatives are fragmented and do not adequately address the needs of those who are addicted to nicotine while living with other complex conditions, such as mental illness or additional substance use disorder.

Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, LAH works with partners across sectors to identify gaps, prioritize where the needs are greatest, and coordinate research and translation activities that optimize access to smoking cessation and vaping-related services. Further, LAH will work to address the large gaps in evidence related to the health effects of vaping, through novel and innovative research and knowledge translation regarding the harms of this growing threat and interventions to remediate it.

13% of Canadian youth, aged 15–19 vape