Health Canada is warning users of vaping products to monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness following the first confirmed case in Canada of severe pulmonary illness related to vaping products.
On Friday, the province of Quebec notified the Public Health Agency of Canada about the medical case. The confirmed case comes after a possible case still under investigation in the London, Ont., area and a number of deaths reportedly linked to the use of vaping products in the United States.
According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit in Ontario, an youth was recently on life support due to a severe case of pulmonary illness, believed to be linked to a daily vaping habit. The youth is now recovering at home.
Health Canada is advising users of vaping products to be cognizant of symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain and to seek medical attention promptly if they have concerns about their health.
On August 30, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a statement on their ongoing investigation into the cause of the illnesses. The CDC continues to provide regular updates on the investigations related to these illnesses. The source of all illnesses in the U.S. remains unclear; however, the DC reports that chemical exposure is the likely cause. Many patients have reported vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or nicotine-containing products.
However, Health Canada added, at this time, no consistent product, substance or additive has been identified in all cases.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health have convened a federal, provincial and territorial task group on severe pulmonary illness related to vaping to develop a uniform approach to identifying and reporting cases. Health Canada has obtained samples of vaping products for testing purposes.
In Washington state this week, Gov. Jay Inslee sent an executive order to the state’s department of health to adopt emergency rules to ban all flavoured vaping products, including flavoured THC products.
Inslee said he expects the ban to be implemented on Oct. 9.
Earlier this month, Kamloops-South Thompson B.C. Liberal MLA Todd Stone wrote an open letter to B.C. Heath Minister Adrian Dix, urging the B.C. NDP government to take quick action and ban flavoured vapour products. In April, Stone introduced a bill to increase restrictions on the sale of vape pens and products, as well as toughen penalties for those who don’t comply with standards
The Ministry of Health said it is preparing a response to the growing issue, including education and awareness, as part of a strategy to reduce the number of youth vaping in the province.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol produced by a vaping product, such as an ecigarette. Vaping doesn’t require burning the way cigarette smoking does. The device heats a liquid into a vapour, which then turns into an aerosol. This vapour can contain substances such as nicotine and flavourings.
Vaping devices are usually battery-powered. They may come with removable parts. Vaping products have many names, including:
• vape pens
• tank systems
• electronic cigarettes / e-cigarettes
• electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)
They may also be known by various brand names. More information about vaping is available on Health Canada’s website.
Cannabis can be consumed in different ways, including by vaporizing and vaping (breathing in dried cannabis or liquid cannabis vapors through a vaporizer or vaping device). Illegal cannabis, including cannabis vaping products that are sold on the illegal market, are not quality-controlled and may be contaminated.
What you should do:
• If you are concerned about the health risks related to vaping, consider not using vaping products.
• If you use vaping products, or have used vaping products in the past, monitor yourself for symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. Be sure to indicate to your health care professional that you currently vape, or have in the past, and what you were vaping.
• If you use vaping products, avoid any products from illegal or unregulated sources. Products obtained from the illegal market are not subject to any controls or oversight with respect to safety or quality.
• Do not modify vaping products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
• Report any adverse reactions or incidents related to vaping products to Health Canada.
• Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and product recalls.