(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

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo/submitted)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Government’s inaction has led to old-fashioned ‘war in the woods’

How can we still be debating the value of old-growth forests in 2021, asks letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin file)
Pleasant Valley school in Nanaimo sees case of COVID-19

Potential exposure date April 13, says Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools

The City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee has recommended spending $200,000 from reserves on a feasibility study and conceptual designs for a community centre in the south end. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will study options for south-end community centre

Finance committee recommends spending $200,000 from reserves for feasibility study and concept plans

First responders on scene at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School south of Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)
One child airlifted after quad accident at Nanaimo district school

First responders called to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School at around 3:30 p.m.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports 65 new cases in Oceanside health area April 4-10

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The family of Iris McNeil, shown here with members of her family, has launched a petition to deny parole for the man who murdered McNeil in 1997. (Family photo)
Family fights killer’s release from Vancouver Island prison

Shortreed serving an indeterminate sentence at William Head Institution

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Nanaimo city councillors, at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, April 14, recommended spending $400,000 on nighttime security throughout downtown and the Old City Quarter. (Stock photo)
Nanaimo city councillors recommend $400,000 spending on downtown security

City will also spend $50,000 to hire consultant to prepare a public safety action plan

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Beef to the beefers. Please season your beefs. We require a little more spice in our Wednesday-morning work beef huddle.
Beefs & Bouquets, April 14

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Most Read