01/21/2015 09:32 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT

Gaétan Barrette says e-cigarettes a powerful stop-smoking tool

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is calling on the federal government to hurry up on its regulation of e-cigarettes.

He told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty on Wednesday that the provincial government is currently working on a policy about “smoking” e-cigarettes — referred to as vaping — in public.

Barrette said he believes e-cigarettes are a powerful tool that can potentially help people quit smoking.

"To tell you the truth, I never smoked one cigarette in my life. But what I see on the clinical side, if you let me put on my doctor’s hat today, is that it really, really works. If you speak with doctors in that field, it’s what we can call a breakthrough," Barrette told Daybreak.

He said the psychological aspect of smoking is a big barrier to overcome by those looking to butt out.

Barrette said e-cigarettes duplicate the feeling of smoking — a major factor in getting people to quit.

"Reproducing the habit -- the feel, the behaviour that goes with it —  in a manner that you reduce your nicotine dosages over time — it works. And many, many people at the end of the process keep vaping with stuff that has no nicotine," Barrette said.

Health Canada maintains there is not enough evidence to prove e-cigarettes are an effective stop-smoking tool.