November 25, 2014 8:26 am

E-cigarettes can spark fire near oxygen source

In this Jan. 17, 2014 file photo, a smoker demonstrates an e-cigarette in Wichita Falls, Texas.

AP Photo/Wichita Falls Times Record News, Torin Halsey, File

TORONTO – Health Canada is warning about the potential risks of “vaping” after an unidentified Quebec resident receiving oxygen therapy was injured by a fire sparked by an electronic cigarette.

The federal department says similar incidents of fires started by e-cigarettes in the presence of an oxygen source have been reported in other countries.

Electronic cigarettes include heating elements and a power source that may be charged from a USB port or a separate battery charger.

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READ MORE: Are e-cigarette poisonings on the rise in Canada?

These sources of heat may ignite the electronic cigarette if they are close to oxygen in a pressurized container, such as those used for oxygen therapy.

Health Canada also warns that electronic cigarette batteries should not be charged near an oxygen source due to the risk of fire.

The department also continues to advise Canadians not to purchase or use electronic cigarettes, as it says these products may pose health risks.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Ontario government unveiled legislation that would restrict the use of e-cigarettes, including banning their sale to those under age 19.

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