B.C. considering crackdown on vaping amid rise in U.S. hospitalizations
The B.C. government has promised swift action to address an increase in vaping among the province's youth – as the U.S. deals with a rising number of deaths and hospitalizations linked to the devices.
One in five teens in B.C. has vaped a nicotine product in the last month, according to an survey conducted by the Mcreary Centre Society, a non-profit focused on youth health.That number rises to 31 per cent among 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds.
Meanwhile in the U.S., six people have died hundreds of others have been hospitalized by a mysterious vaping-related illness.
There have been no confirmed cases in Canada so far, but many medical experts say that’s because doctors here have just begun to make the connection.
"Anyone that has unusual respiratory symptoms...cough, shortness of breath, fever, we should at least start asking if they have been using vaping-related products,” said Dr. Chris Carlsten, the head of respiratory medicine at UBC.
In light of the rising numbers of young users and concerns over vaping illness, B.C.'s health minister has promised to take swift action.
“There’s provincial action that’s required. There’s federal action that’s required,” said Adrian Dix. “But the thing that I’d say, especially to young people and to parents, is don’t vape.”
However, Dix didn’t provide a timeline for new regulations and was short on specifics.
In the U.S., President Donald Trump recently floated the idea of banning flavoured vaping products altogether, something Dr. Carlsten thinks could be a good place to start.
"In particular, popcorn flavouring, cinnamon flavour, those are some of the many that have been shown to be toxic in various studies,” he said.
At Vancouver’s Kitsilano Secondary School, a group of students spoke to CTV News about vaping, but requested not to be named.
When asked if a ban on flavoured vape products would be enough to reverse the trend, one Grade 12 student was skeptical.
"Maybe for new people, but for people who already use it, probably not,” he said.
The student said he’s been vaping for about two years and wants to cut back after hearing stories about vaping-related illnesses.