(Electric Tobacconist/Flickr)

(Electric Tobacconist/Flickr)

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

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Coldstream owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Vernon residents can breathe a little easier now that a dust advisory has ended in the area. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Dust advisory lifted in Vernon

Changing meteorological conditions have improved regional air quality

The City of Vernon is looking for input into its Climate Action Plan. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon voices wanted on climate action plan

Community engagement sought on city plan

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read