First probable vaping-related illness found in B.C.
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2019 2:58PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 16, 2019 6:43PM PDT
VANCOUVER - There's at least one probable case of vaping-related illness in B.C., the province's health officer announced Wednesday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said the victim is a "young person" who had only vaped nicotine products. The person has since recovered.
"We don't yet know the exact cause of the illnesses we're seeing," Henry said. "That's why we're doing these very detailed investigations and we're sharing it across the country."
B.C. officials are also investigating seven more reports of vaping-related illnesses that could become confirmed cases in the coming weeks. Henry said she "fully expects" there will be more confirmed cases as this is quickly emerging as a "significant public health issue."
"Vaping is turning back the clock on decades of effective anti-smoking efforts and creating a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine."
Symptoms include severe inflammation of the lungs, a cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or a general unwell feeling. These symptoms are being seen in young, otherwise healthy people, Henry said.
Vaping-related illnesses became a reportable condition in B.C. on Sept. 19, 2019, meaning health-care providers who see patients that report using vapes or e-cigarettes before developing symptoms must report each instance to the BC Centre for Disease Control.
From there, public health officials investigate each report.
There have been two cases of severe lung illness related to vaping in New Brunswick, and a third in Quebec. In the U.S., vaping has made killed 26 people and made 1,300 more sick, according to the Centre for Disease Control.
Research from the U.S. suggests illegally-purchased vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, could be playing a role in the outbreak. Canada's top doctors have urged all Canadians not to use any e-cigarettes or vaping device, whether legal or illegal.
Anyone who vapes and then develops symptoms of ill health is urged to see a health care provider.