A leading e-cigarette producer has warned Canadian Health Ministers that they risk being misled over the vaping crisis that has engulfed North America.

Shai Bekman describes his firm, DashVapes Inc., as the largest manufacturer of nicotine-based vaping liquids in Canada, and it also owns 12 retail vape stores. He wrote to all Provincial Health Ministers to remind them that e-cigarettes have been around for a decade and they have not previously caused any serious health problems.

He said they should examine why, all of a sudden, there are now 28 deaths and more than 1,300 people left unwell after the lung illness outbreak. Bekman said illicit THC products are to blame and urged them not to enforce blanket bans that punish his industry.

“We are seeing governments at the provincial and municipal levels, right down to local police departments, making rules to put vaping stores out of business, without adequate investigation of the so-called public health crisis caused by vaping,” said Bekman.

His firm’s YouTube channel has released a video titled “Black Market Vaping – The Real Killer”, and it has been viewed more than 85,000 times over the past month. It accuses mainstream news groups of ignoring the real information around vaping and promoting misinformed dangers.

The firm has also sought to “challenge the disinformation”. It said News 7 in Texas featured a patient called Ben Camarillo and said he was in hospital due to nicotine vaping, when it was actually down to vaping THC cartridges.

Bekman argued that vaping is designed to help 4.6 million people quit smoking cigarettes. He pointed to a 2018 study from Public Health England and Cancer Research UK that suggested e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional combustible tobacco, because they do no contain smoke, tar and carbon monoxide.

Bekman urged provincial governments to clamp down on bootleg THC products – many of which he claimed come from China – and keep nicotine-based vapes out of any bans.