First probable case of vaping-related illness found in B.C.

First probable case of vaping-related illness found in B.C.
Ben Nelms/CBC
A man vapes on the street in Vancouver, British Columbia on Monday, July 15, 2019.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, says there is a probable case of a vaping-related illness in the province.

According to Henry, the case would be a first for B.C.

Henry also said in a release there are several other investigations underway that may also meet the case definition of probable or confirmed vaping-related illness in the near future.

“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 in a statement.

“Vaping is turning back the clock on decades of effective anti-smoking efforts and creating a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine.”

On Sept. 19, Henry issued a notice under the Reporting Information Affecting Public Health Regulation that requires physicians to report incidences of patients exhibiting symptoms that meet the national case definition.

This includes patients:

  • who report vaping using e-cigarette devices, related products or other means of inhaling a variety of products in the 90 days before symptom onset
  • who have pulmonary infiltrates on X-ray imaging
  • whose illnesses are not attributed to other causes

All reports about vaping-related illness from people, health care providers, health authorities and Health Canada are forwarded to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on behalf of the provincial health officer and will be investigated by public health officials.

According to the Ministry of Health, Only instances that are probable or confirmed will be reported to the public and media.

The ministry says age, sex and location (including community, town or health authority jurisdiction) are not being released as the cases are being reported at the provincial level.

“Making vaping a reportable illness assists public health experts in better understanding the impact of this emerging public health issue on the population in B.C. and will contribute to the knowledge base within North America,” the ministry said in a statement.


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