B.C. lung specialist calls for ban on vape products
VANCOUVER - When public health officials announced B.C.’s first case of probable vaping-related illness on Wednesday, a UBC medical professor who specializes in lung function wasn’t surprised.
"It was just a matter of time, and sad to see," said Dr. Chris Carsten.
He argues the best way to prevent more cases is for the province to ban the sale of vaping products altogether.
"It sounds extreme but I think it’s at least reasonable to consider," said Carsten. "I think it’s the time to be fairly aggressive now, and then potentially over time if we can find safer products and safer use of products we could roll back."
Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday that the province is preparing an action plan on vaping that will be announced soon, but doesn’t seem keen on an all-out ban, saying "we don’t want to create a situation that’s conceivably worse where you're creating a large black market."
But Dix promises B.C. is about to get tough on vaping. "We in British Columbia are going to lead the country. No one else is considering or contemplating or moving forward with what we're going to come forward with within weeks here in British Columbia."
Dix also hopes the industry will take a lead role in making vaping safer, but Dr. Carsten isn’t holding his breath. "I think it’s pretty clear that the industry has only been responsive to either the threat from government or actual government action."
Carsten says if the province doesn’t act soon, B.C. will see more cases of vaping-related illness. "I’d be shocked if we didn't," he said. "How can it just be this one case?"