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Vaping Crisis: An Open Letter to Canadian Ministers of Health
October 11th 2019 | Revised October 13th 2019
Vaping Crisis:  An Open Letter to Canadian Ministers of Health

Vaping Crisis: An Open Letter to Canadian Ministers of Health,


Over the past two months, there has been a growing crisis, North America-wide, and heavily laced with misinformation, about vaping. About 28 people have died and about 1,300 have been hospitalized, with lung-related illnesses. 


I am the founder and president of DashVapes Inc., the largest independently owned e-cigarette retailer and a manufacturer of legitimate vaping liquids in Canada, with 12 retail stores in Ontario and British Columbia, as well as quality-controlled manufacturing facilities in Markham, Ontario, and Burnaby, B.C. We also operate an online store. We use Equifax to verify the age of our online customers, to ensure that we only sell to those 19 and over.
 
I started DashVapes as a way for Canada’s 4.6 million smokers to transition away from combustible tobacco; I was a heavy smoker myself. 


This letter is being sent to Ministers of Health across Canada and being distributed via a news release distribution system (Canada Newswire / Cision) to major media.


The letter has three purposes:


  1. I would like politicians, public servants, members of the media, all vapers, and the public to keep asking:

    Why has a “vaping crisis” surfaced 90 days ago?  
    Can there be more than one cause of the “vaping crisis”?
    Who stands to benefit the most from creating a “vaping crisis”?

    FACT:  Vaping nicotine-based products have been around in Canada and Worldwide for about 10 years.

    FACT: Vaping nicotine-based products are not the same thing as vaping THC-based products (cannabis).

    FACT:  Vaping nicotine-based products are not risk-free, but a 2018 study by CancerResearchUK.org alongside Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians; found that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional combustible tobacco. “There is no smoke, tar or carbon monoxide, and studies looking at key toxicants have generally found much lower levels than in cigarettes,” said the study.

    FACT:  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have identified a substantial Black Market in THC-based products.

    FACT: The CDC found that more than 70% of lung-related illnesses have been linked to THC-vaping, not nicotine-based vaping products, as reported in The Washington Post.

    FACT:  In Canada, vaping THC-based products will be legal as of October 17, 2019. These products will be sold in government-controlled cannabis stores, not nicotine-based vaping stores. THC-based vaping cartridges will be in stores in late December 2019.

    FACT:  You can buy both empty THC vape cartridges as well as empty sophisticated packaging online that is not affiliated with any reputable producer of nicotine-based vaping products.

    See examples of Black Market supplies here and here. Many come from China.

    In a September 27, 2019 article, The Washington Post reported on the Black Market. When people buy Black Market vaping products, either nicotine-based or THC-based, there is no quality control.

  2. I encourage ministers of health, public servants, and the media to seek better, more clear information to educate the public.
     
    DashVapes produces almost daily videos to educate both our customers and the general public about using nicotine-based products as a tool for smokers to reduce their harm by at least 95% (relative to combustible tobacco), as well as asking questions about the current vaping crisis.

    FACT:  A video that talks about who buys flavoured nicotine-based vaping products, based on age-verified sales at DashVapes from July 1, 2019, to September 30, 2019.



    FACT:  NBC and a leading cannabis testing lab have found cannabis THC liquid that contains pesticides.



    FACT:  A man named Ben Camarillo was interviewed by ABC affiliate “News 7” in Amarillo, Texas. He was admitted to hospital with a severe lung-related illness due to vaping on THC cartridges, yet the news broadcast blamed it on nicotine vaping, even after being told it was THC.

    DashVapes actually spoke with Ben Camarillo, who explained that his words were twisted:



    Ben Camarillo and Chris Goodwin, owner of 806 Vapes in Amarillo, made their own video, to explain what they actually told ABC News, and how their words were twisted.



    Equally interesting, there is a sign that Ben is holding in the hospital bed, “I want to start a no vaping campaign.” A mother from Ft. Worth asked that Ben hold up the sign while he was in the hospital bed? The sign looks just like the one that Simah Herman held up in a hospital bed, on September 11, 2019. Simah Herman also admitted to vaping THC, but that was glossed over. ABC News heavily promoted Simah Herman’s story.

  3. I want to encourage a questioning, perhaps cynical, mindset in the provincial governments most responsible for regulating our business, and most responsible for helping their citizens to quit smoking combustible tobacco.

    I am in favour of licensing all nicotine-based vaping producers, to ensure quality control of all products. Keeping our vaping customers safe is our utmost priority at DashVapes as they reduce their need for combustible tobacco. I am also in favour of limiting the amount of nicotine allowed in e-liquid to 20mg/mL (The same as in the UK).  

    With hundreds of thousands of vaping customers in Canada and other markets, banning nicotine-based legal vaping, with its age restrictions, carefully operated scientific manufacturing, and replacing this with unfettered Black Market operations, will be a step backward. In fact, this will create an even bigger Black Market for even more dubious products.


    Ministers of Health who want straight information are welcome to call me directly.
    Yours truly,

    Shai Bekman, President
    DashVapes Inc.


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