(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

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Liberty roses – created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert – will be planted in White Rock later this month. (Contributed photo)
‘Liberty Rose’ to be planted along Johnston Road and at White Rock City Hall

Poppy-like rose created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert

South Surrey’s Kirk Arsenault has started a new company, Str8laced, that sells cleat wraps that aim to keep athletes’ shoes from coming untied during games and practices. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey sports equipment entrepreneur tying up loose ends before Alberta move

Str8laced wraps keep laces from coming loose in the middle of play, says Kirk Arsenault

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

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

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 after 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

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

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

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

B.C. RCMP Lower Mainland District officer, Asst. Commissioner Stephen Thatcher presents RCMP blankets to (from left) Chief James Hobart, Chief Maureen Chapman, Chief Derek Epp and Chief Mark Point. (RCMP)
Historic agreement significantly expands Indigenous role in Lower Mainland policing

Community Safety Agreement builds relationship of ‘trust, communication and prevention,’ says Chief

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read