Vaping is seen as a healthier alternative to smoking for many, but is this really the case? (Stock photo)

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Canada’s chief public health officer says at least three reports of potential vaping-related illnesses are being investigated, but she doesn’t consider any to be confirmed.

Theresa Tam says one of the cases comes from London, Ont., where a teen who used e-cigarettes daily suffered a severe case of pulmonary illness.

Officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit say the youth was initially on life support in an intensive care unit, but was sent home to recover.

They have been unable to conclusively say the respiratory ailment was the result of vaping, but the health unit’s medical officer said there was no other identifiable cause.

“I’m also aware of … a couple of additional incidences under investigation that we are aware of through the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety reporting system,” Tam said Friday.

Tam wouldn’t divulge the health status of the individuals, their ages, or where they’re from.

Some of the cases date back to 2018 “so they’re not necessarily recent,” but investigations into them are new.

READ MORE: B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Tam said the Public Health Agency of Canada is concerned about the report from Ontario and the more than 500 cases — including seven deaths — that have been recorded in the United States.

She has contacted all provincial and territorial chief medical health offices to provide guidance in terms of investigations and definitions for a confirmed or probable case.

She wouldn’t comment on how many people may be under investigation at a local level, but expects cases that have been fully reviewed to be reported to the national agency.

A statement from British Columbia’s provincial health officer said there is no known case there and no investigations are underway.

“I do however expect that as awareness increases, it is likely that cases in Canada and B.C. will be identified,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter said there’s no record of pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping in Saskatchewan, but he’s asked health officials to monitor all potential cases in hospital intensive care units.

The province’s chief health official has also told hospitals to report to local medical health officers all cases of non-infectious severe respiratory disease possibly due to vaping.

“Ultimately, in Canada, we want all such cases to be reported to the chief public health officer of Canada,” Saskatchewan chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said Friday.

“Are we seeing, in Canada, potentially going forwards, what the U.S. has been seeing over the past 30 days?” Shahab asked.

“These are, for the most part, people who are otherwise young, healthy, with no pre-existing heart or lung disease, who develop severe respiratory infection, get very ill and, unfortunately in some cases, die,” said Shahab.

ALSO READ: Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

He said U.S. public health officials learned that those who fell sick had vaped within the last 90 days. In many cases, they had done so on a daily basis and used products that were not regulated, such as vaping pods with added substances such as cannabis.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association recently said youth vaping has become a public health crisis.

Reiter said in a statement that he’s worried about how popular vaping is among young people and he’d like parents to warn their children about the risks.

Shahab said the province is proposing changes for the fall that would see vaping products treated the same way as tobacco, including not displaying them in retail stores and restricting sales to minors.

“I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping.”

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Highway 1, crime and pipeline debated at Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon forum

Five candidates for the riding debated the issues Thursday in Abbotsford

Heated cross-riding clash at debate between NDP’s Nenn on stage, Conservative Fast in crowd

Candidates from different ridings show anger during Thursday’s all-candidates meeting in Abbotsford

RCMP officers recognized for fighting Ashcroft wildfire, taking down Hells Angels

Officers were recognized for fighting the 2017 Ashcroft fire and dismantling a Hells Angles ring

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

Future remains unclear for Historic Hat Creek Ranch

Proposed one-year extension to site management agreement creates instability

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read