Vaping & Hookah

Vaping (e-cigarettes) 

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling a vapour produced by a vaping product. The battery-operated devices use e-liquid (also called e-juice), which are available in many flavours. They can contain different levels of nicotine.

Vaping products have many names such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), vape pens, mods, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Are there risks from using vapour products?

The vapour can contain many chemicals with known toxicity.  The long-term effects of inhaling the substances in vaping products is unknown.  More research is needed on the health risks from second-hand vapour.

Using e-liquid nicotine could result in nicotine addiction.

Young people are vulnerable to the negative effects of e-liquid nicotine. Nicotine can alter brain development and can affect memory and concentration. It may also predispose to addiction to nicotine and other drugs.  Drinking e-liquid nicotine can result in nicotine poisoning especially with children.

Flavoured e-liquids can play a role in the initiation of e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction among youth.

E-cigarette use can increase the risk of smoking cigarettes among youth and young adults.

Monitor yourself for symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) Seek medical attention right away if you have concerns about your health. Be sure to indicate to your health care professional that you currently vape, or have in the past, and what you were vaping. 

What is the legal status of vaping products in Ottawa?

It is against the law to use vaping products in enclosed public places and workplaces, and in other areas where tobacco smoking is currently banned.  

It is also against the law to give or sell to youth under the age of 19 in Ontario. More information at Smoke-Free
Ontario Act, 2017

The federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act regulates the making, sale, labelling and promotion of vaping products , including products with nicotine,  in Canada.

Can vaping products help people quit smoking cigarettes?

The evidence about e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid is limited.

OPH recommends that those interested in quitting should discuss their quit goals with their health care professionals.

To date, no vapour product has been licensed by Health Canada to treat nicotine dependence. There are proven safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as the nicotine patch, lozenge, inhaler, and gum.

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All hookah smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals and toxins, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and tar.

What is hookah smoking?

The hookah, also known as a water-pipe or shisha, is a device used to smoke tobacco product and herbal product that is specially made with molasses and flavouring. 

Why should I be concerned?

Hookah smoking carries many health risks and is gaining popularity among young adults due to the variety of flavoured product and the misperception that it is a "healthier" alternative to cigarette smoking.

Who's using the hookah?

Ottawa data collected in 2014 shows that approximately 14% of people over the age of 18 in Ottawa have used a hookah at some point in their life, with nearly 50% of those aged 18 to 24 reporting that they have tried a hookah. 

Since 2006, hookah use among the Ontario population aged 18 and up has tripled from 3% to 10% in 2012.  

Why is hookah smoking dangerous to my health?

It can be addictive. The tobacco used in a hookah contains nicotine, the same highly addictive drug found in cigarettes.

Chemicals are absorbed into your body. The smoke from a hookah pipe contains chemicals and toxins including carbon monoxide, carcinogens, heavy metals and tar. The water in a hookah pipe does not act as a filter.

There are health risks.  Hookah smoking is associated with a number of poor health outcomes including lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, carbon monoxide poisoning, adverse cardiac events and periodontal disease. 

You can catch an infectious disease.  There is a risk of contracting viruses and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, influenza, and oral disease from sharing the hose or mouthpiece of a hookah pipe.  The use of a disposable tip does not prevent the transmission of contagious diseases.

It produces second-hand smoke.  A recent study conducted by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit showed that the air quality in hookah bars tested in Toronto was unhealthy and potentially hazardous.

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