There have been hundreds of such cases in the United States, but this is believed to be the first case of severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping in Canada.
Officials in the USA are flirting with bans on flavoured e-cigarettes and vapes as they investigate hundreds of cases of serious breathing problems in people who use vaping devices-including at least six deaths. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including at least six deaths.
Health Canada issued a warning recently urging people who vape to watch for symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.
"We know very little about the long-term health effects associated with e-cigarettes, but our findings so far are enough to convince us of the need to advise the public", Mackie said.
In Ontario, you must be 19 years old to purchase e-cigarettes or vaping supplies, but that's not stopping teens from getting their hands on the smoking substitutes, said Linda Stobo, chronic disease and tobacco control manager for the health unit. "At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that we do not have access to sufficient data and information to understand the potential scope of this issue".
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"Our kids are being drawn in and hooked to this unhealthy practice in increasing numbers as a direct result of the efforts vape companies have made to deliberately target our youth with kid-friendly e-cigarette flavours like fruit medley, gummy bear, and mango", Stone says in the letter. She also said local schools are reporting students vaping in washrooms, classrooms and even buses. This includes cases at elementary schools.
The health unit would not disclose whether the teen was vaping nicotine liquid or e-juice containing THC.
A spokeswoman for Elliott later said the London, Ont., case "just highlights the importance of collecting this sort of data from hospitals so that we can move forward to find evidence-based solutions".
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health has said he is sending informal email inquiries to respiratory specialists and intensive care units at the province's hospitals to look for similar cases as what's occurring in the U.S.
Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said officials are not talking about banning vaping at this point but said they are considering banning certain flavors.
"We won't be commenting on that in this case, in order to protect doctor-patient confidentiality", he said, referring to possible cannabis use. The Centers for Disease Control in the US said it doesn't know if the illness is new or just newly recognized.