Welcome to Island Health

On August 1 st, we launched our new public website:


and a new website for medical staff:


Our website was developed in partnership with patients and residents of Vancouver Island and the surrounding regions. It's accessible, mobile friendly and flexible to help us evolve with our communities as we work towards excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time.

Come visit the new sites and update your bookmarks. This www.viha.ca site will continue to be available for one month so that our staff and partners have time to update their links to the new site. You can still browse the old site but it will no longer be updated.


Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping

What are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vapour products?

  • An electronic cigarette is a battery attached to a chamber containing liquid that may (or may not) contain nicotine.
  • Vapour products is the term that can be used to describe e-cigarettes and e-substances, as well as any cartridges and components used in e-cigarettes.
  • E-substance is the gas, liquid or solid that, upon being heated, produces a vapour for inhalation in an e-cigarette.

What is ‘vaping’?

  • Vaping is the act of inhaling the vapour produced by vapour products 

Are e-cigarettes harmful?

  • As a quitting smoking and harm reduction tool for current adult smokers, e-cigarettes are yet to be proven.
  • E-cigarettes, in fact, may have the opposite effect: enticing former smokers back to nicotine dependency, helping normalize nicotine dependency, and representing smoking as a socially acceptable public practice.
  • No e-cigarettes that make a health claim or contain nicotine have been submitted to Health Canada for approval – so none are approved for sale in Canada.

What about people who have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes? Isn’t that a better option?

  • Health Canada has approved several forms of nicotine replacement products – for example inhalers, mist, gum and patches, but not electronic cigarettes.
  • Nicotine users may be inhaling more harmful substances than in their tobacco products.
  • The longer-term risks of exposure to vapour products is unknown.

What does the current research say about Electronic Cigarettes?

(2015) Nicotine and the Developing Human: A Neglected Element in the Electronic Cigarette Debate In American Journal of Preventative Medicine  Lucinda J. England, MD, Rebecca E. Bunnell, ScD, Terry F. Pechacek, PhD, Van T. Tong, MPH, Tim A. McAfee, MD 

(2015) E-cigarettes: Are we renormalizing public smoking? Reversing five decades of tobacco control and revitalizing nicotine dependency in children and youth  Dr. Richard Stanwick in Canada Position Statement in Canadian Pediatric Society

(2014) E-Cigarettes: A Scientific Review 
Rachel Grana, PhD, MPH; Neal Benowitz, MD; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD Circulation American Heart Association Journal