At ISA, we’re focused on Canada’s cyber threat landscape and how to best protect Canadian industry. However, on July 25th, we’re switching our focus. That day marks our 7th annual ISA Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, our tournament that brings ISA together with our fantastic customers and partners, is focussing, specifically, on youth vaping. Our goal is to raise over $10,000 to assist the Canadian Cancer Society and raise awareness about the dangers of vaping for youth. Because, sadly, teenage vaping is on the rise and the negative impact on young Canadians’ health will be significant.
According to a study published in June by the British Medical Journal, there has been a significant increase in youth vaping across Canada. The study, conducted by Professor David Hammond out of the University of Waterloo, found that amongst 16-19-year-olds, vaping increased by a dramatic 74 percent from 2017 to 2018, jumping from 8.4 percent to 14.6 percent.[i] The results of the study are consistent with reports from high schools across Canada that are struggling to respond to a rapid increase in youth vaping in, and around, the schools.
Vaping is “smoking” e-cigarettes, (or e-cigs, MODs and vapes), which are defined as “battery-powered devices that try to create the same feeling as smoking cigarettes but without tobacco. They use an e-juice solution that is heated and inhaled. The e-juice varies by brand, but commonly includes propylene glycol, glycerol and flavouring.
Many e-cigarettes also contain nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco. Different brands and models of e-cigarettes have different amounts of nicotine. When you puff on an e-cigarette and inhale the vapour, the nicotine enters your lungs as a vaporized solution.”[iii]
A Canadian E-cig Epidemic
The evidence collected as part of the University of Waterloo vaping study also indicates a corresponding trend that is cause for concern. It appears that youth who use e-cigarettes with nicotine when vaping may become nicotine-addicted and are more prone to smoking traditional cigarettes, with increased risk of becoming smokers long-term. Between 2017 and 2018 – the study found that cigarette smoking amongst 16 to 19-year-olds increased by 45 percent, from 10.7 percent to 15.5 percent. Another study confirmed that “among teens who use e-cigs, 30.7 percent started smoking traditional cigarettes within six months, while only 8.1 percent of those who did not vape or use e-cigs started smoking.”[iv] Surveys conducted before 2017, had shown a continuing decline in smoking among youth. It, unfortunately, appears that youth smoking may now be on the rise.[v]
“E-cigarettes are supposed to be for adult smokers who have been unable to quit,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “But the results of this new study regarding youth trends are of tremendous concern. Given the progress that has been made to reduce youth smoking, we must avoid a new generation of teenagers becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping products.”[vi] However, with bright, fun advertisements posted in retail and convenience stores and fruity flavours to pick from, vaping is being marketed to more than just adults trying to quit smoking cigarettes.
According to a study of current e-cigarette users, “users over age 45 are almost all current or former cigarette smokers; only 1.3 percent had never been regular tobacco smokers. In contrast, among those age 18-24 who use e-cigs, 40 percent had never been regular cigarette smokers.”[vii]
A popular vaping product is the JUUL which looks like a small USB storage drive. It’s an e-cigarette that students can easily sneak in and use in school – where smoking and vaping are banned anywhere on the property for anyone of any age. The company who produces JUUL advertises the product as containing the equivalent nicotine of traditional cigarettes. A recent study shows that among youth and young adult users of JUUL, only 37 percent knew that the product contained nicotine.[viii]
Moreover, while deemed less harmful than traditional cigarettes, vaping still means inhaling a chemical vapour into your lungs – the long-term side effects of which have yet to be determined.
Vaping is Harmful
Therefore, vaping is not harmless – yet Canadian teenagers are experimenting with vaping products. Data from a recent Health Canada survey showed that 23 percent of students in grades 7–12 had tried an electronic cigarette.[ix]
Vape use is harder to detect then cigarettes, as vaporizers come in various shapes, colours and sizes – with many being pocket-sized. As well, there is very little smell that coincides with vaping, unlike cigarettes which have a potent odour. A young person can vape, almost undetected, in front of you if your attention is elsewhere. The action of lifting the device, followed by a small expulsion of vapour is all the evidence there is. This is a major part of the issue with vaping in schools – in a busy hallway, it’s hard to see and therefore police. This also means it’s harder for parents to catch and monitor as well.
In the US, a 2017-2018 survey of middle school students (meaning grades six through nine) and vaping usage showed a 48 percent increase in use, from 3.3 million to 4.9 million students who are using vaping products. Obviously, more needs to be done concerning youth vaping restrictions, awareness and educational programs.
#BetterTogether with our Customers and Partners
Many of ISA’s partners understand the importance of raising awareness about youth vaping. As such, they have come aboard as sponsors for the tournament, helping cover the costs of the day, so that together with our customers, we can hopefully contribute more to the Canadian Cancer Society and ultimately exceeding our $10,000 goal. Because frankly, we’re just #BetterTogether.
Our generous event sponsors include:
Thales – A leading investor in research and development in Canada
Bitsight – Most widely adopted Security Ratings solution
Gigamon – Industry’s only network visibility fabric designed for the digital enterprise
Varonis – Takes data from neglected to protected
Micro Focus – Software that bridges the gap between existing & emerging technologies
Zscaler – Industry leaders in cloud security
Westcon – A division of SYNNEX focused on security, networking, and data centre
Check Point – Leading government & corporate provider of cybersecurity solutions
McAfee – Device to cloud cybersecurity
Tech Data – Technology products, services, and solutions wholesale distributer
FireEye – Solutions for security-conscious organizations
Ingram Micro – Cloud hosted solutions
Brand Boulevard – Branded merchandise made with love in Niagara
Blue Springs Golf Club – Home of the PGA of Canada headquarters
For tips on how to talk to a teenager in your life about the effects of vaping, check out this guide produced by the Government of Canada.
To learn more about how you can get involved and be an advocate in the fight against cancer in Canada, visit the Canadian Cancer Society website.
happy back to school!