Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

As B.C. records its first illness likely connected to e-cigarettes, the province’s top doctor is encouraging parents to sit down with their kids and talk about the risks of vaping.

On Wednesday, health officials announced that case of probable vaping disease was discovered in the province in recent weeks.

“It was a young person [who was] vaping nicotine products only and they have recovered,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told Black Press Media, adding that there will likely be more cases in the coming months as the province investigates at least seven other suspected vaping-related cases.

Henry encouraged parents and adults to speak to the youth and teens in their lives about the risks and symptoms that can stem from vaping.

READ MORE: First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness in B.C. ‘not surprising’: UBC prof

“It’s a challenging thing, I’ve been talking with young people in my life, too,” Henry said in phone interview.

E-cigarettes have become a trend that’s growing rapidly among young people in Canada. A recent study by Dr. David Hammond at the University of Waterloo suggests that, in just one year, vaping among youth increased by 74 per cent. The number of youth who reported smoking tobacco grew 45 per cent year over year, marking the first time that youth smoking rates in Canada have increased.

Henry recommended that parents step into the conversation with openness and understanding instead of a “just don’t do it” condemning approach.

Talk about why they may feel the need to turn to vaping, Henry said, whether that be because of peer pressure, a sense of belonging or a way to handle their mental health issues. Then share the health risks.

“The nicotine itself can cause addiction, it’s a chemical they are relying on to get through the day,” she said. “Nicotine can lead to memory loss, difficulty focusing.”

Symptoms to look out for include shortness of breath, coughing, or even abdominal pain and an unsettled stomach, Henry said.

Health officials in Canada and the U.S. are working to figure out the exact cause behind more than 1,000 people’s lung issues. There’s a lot doctors still don’t know about the health impacts, in-part due to a lack of regulation on what various vaping juices are allowed to include.

“Right now we don’t know what is causing it, and we are doing very detailed investigations into it,” Henry said. “We’re really focusing on the severe cases, and what in the product is causing the illnesses.”

In the case announced this week, doctors were able to use “a diagnosis of exclusion” to confirm the likeliness that the illness was linked to vaping.

Tests showed pulmonary infiltrates on the young person’s chest – a symptom associated with lung infections and diseases – and no alternative probable diagnosis,” Henry explained. Pulmonary inflitrates are substances thicker than air, like pus, blood, or protein, that linger in the lungs.

Every province is reporting any possible cases to the Public Health Agency of Canada, where the data is being shared across country borders.

In the meantime, Henry said the federal government needs to crack down on the various products being sold until health officials no more about the people getting sick from vaping.

“The most important thing,” she added,” it’s an indicator that these things are not innocuous and we need to keep them out of the hands of youth.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Most Read