The first probable case of vaping-related illness in B.C. has been confirmed.
In a news release Wednesday, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry confirmed a patient suffering an illness sought care and that the illness was linked to vaping.
Several other patients and their illnesses are being investigated by health officials, with Henry suggesting it’s possible those cases may be linked to vaping as well. Henry did not say whether the cases involving the vaping of nicotine cartridges or cannabis-oil cartridges.
“These are the first cases of vaping-related illness in B.C., but we fully expect there will be more as this is quickly emerging as a significant public-health issue,” Henry said. “Vaping is turning back the clock on decades of effective anti-smoking efforts and creating a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine.”
Last month, Henry issued a notice that required doctors to report cases in which patients had a history of using e-cigarette or vaping devices within the past 90 days, had abnormal X-ray results, and whose illnesses couldn’t be linked to other causes.
Those reports are being forwarded to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and will be investigated by the public-health authority. Cases confirmed to be linked to vaping will be shared with the public.
Vaping has come under the spotlight recently, with at least 450 cases of acute vaping-related illness and 13 deaths reported in the U.S. to date.
While officials are still studying the cause and working to determine the exact reason vape users have been suffering breathing problems, it’s believed a contaminant created during the vaporization of oils in e-cigarettes has damaging effects on lungs. It remains unclear whether the illnesses are linked to vaping nicotine cartridges or THC cartridges.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has also promised to dramatically reduce the number of vendors that can sell e-cigarettes and vaping products in a bid to bring the problem under control.
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