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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

25-year-old Rachelle Okrusko has been missing since Jan. 12, 2021. Photo provided by Wetaskiwin RCMP.
Wetaskiwin RCMP looking for missing woman

25-year-old Rachelle Okrusko has been missing since Jan. 12, 2021.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City of Wetaskiwin’s active COVID-19 cases drop below 100

Active COVID-19 cases in the City of Wetaskiwin are dropping.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

Most Read