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Electronic cigarette sparks interest

It looks, tastes and feels like a cigarette, but it isn't a cigarette because it has no tobbaco, tars or carcinogens to hurt you. It's the latest device being made in China, but sold in Europe and Asia, and now it has made its way to Canada.
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It looks, tastes and feels like a cigarette, but it isn't a cigarette because it has no tobbaco, tars or carcinogens to hurt you.

It's the latest device being made in China, but sold in Europe and Asia, and now it has made its way to Canada.

When a user inhales the device that looks exactly like a cigarette, a tiny rechargable battery vaporizes liquid inside the cigarette producing water vapor smoke while the tip lights up like the real thing.

It comes with five different cartridges to insert into the device which offer nicotine, non-nicotine or other flavours like vanilla, strawberry and mint. There's no off and on switch. The motion of inhaling starts and stops the the process, and then you just put it in your pocket until you need it again.

There's no tar, no smoke, no needing to go outside, no second hand smoke and no bad smell, but so far Health Canada has not authorized any electronic cigarette for sale, Phillipe Laroche, media relations officer with Health Canada informed The Citizen Thursday.

Health Canada has not budged from its March, 2009 advisory asking persons advertising and selling electronic smoking products in Canada to stop doing so.

The advisory said such products fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drugs Act and require a review of scientific evidence demonstrating safety, quality and efficacy with respect to the intended purpose.

The starter kits containing two rechargeable batteries, home charger, the e-cigarette and five cartridges cost about $99. Once users purchase the kit, the cost of two cartridges, which are equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes, is about half the cost ($3.98) of a package of 20 cigarettes.

It's designed for adults 18 years and older, but is not suitable for pregnant or breast-feeding women.

One shop keeper in Prince George brought in an order from Electronic Cigarette in China prior to Christmas and sold out within a short time.

Those spoken to about the new device believe it's could be the new way for smokers who've not been able to quit the habit for health reasons or because they have been made to feel like outcasts in today's society.

Pharmacies in Prince George do carry the Nicorette Inhaler which works in a similar way by inserting nicotine cartridges into a device resembling a cigarette holder. There is no battery involved and the device does not smoke or light up. Users simply inhale the nicotine and change the cartridge for each use.

The Citizen would like to hear from readers who've used this new device and are willing to share their experiences and opinions. E-mail: btrick@pgcitizen.ca.