A grieving family is calling for tougher regulations for vapes or e-cigarettes following the death of their teen son.
Kyle Losse, 14, was in a bathroom when his stepmother Niki heard a loud bang.
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She opened the bathroom door to find him on the ground, and that’s when she discovered an e-vape beside him.
Kyle was driven to Delta Hospital at about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday.
“They were monitoring his condition, he was in and out of consciousness, very low heartbeat, low blood pressure, it was very concerning to us,” Niki said.
She said Kyle’s condition worsened on the way to the hospital — he vomited in the car and needed help to leave the vehicle when they arrived.
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A blood test determined that Kyle had nicotine in his system.
He was released at about 6 a.m. the next morning. Hospital staff advised the Losses to bring Kyle back for blood work on Wednesday.
Around this time, Niki said Kyle was complaining that his head still hurt.
He was taken home, where his condition didn’t seem to improve.
“He wasn’t talking full sentences, he wasn’t staying awake for an extended period of time,” Niki said.
“It just didn’t seem normal.”
At home, Niki noticed that a red rash had formed on Kyle’s chest and neck. Eventually, it was all over his body.
The family called 911. Kyle was taken by ambulance to BC Children’s Hospital, where he died.
Losse said she didn’t know whether the vape was to blame, but she said better regulations are needed.
“I know that these things are sold at the malls and easily available to children and to teenagers,” Losse said.
“And I feel like they are marketed to teenagers. All these different flavours make it seem so appealing to them and that’s not the way it should be,” said Losse.
She’s warning parents to be extra cautious as vapes can smell like anything but tobacco.
“You don’t know what they have, it could be tropical smelling, it could be something that it’s unrecognizable to you,” she said.
According to the family, Kyle had just gotten the e-cigarette the weekend before his death taking them by surprise. In B.C. you have to be over 19 to buy one.
The vape was purchased for him by an acquaintance’s father. That man’s name has been passed on to Delta Police.
“I’m actually shocked, I’m just surprised that there are no regulations for this. Like it’s basically smoking a cigarette if not worse,” Losse said.
She said Fraser Health has formally opened up an investigation into Kyle’s death, which the family hope will bring them some answers.
The BC Coroner’s Service is also investigating. It could be weeks or months before a cause of death is revealed.
Kyle’s parents will file a complaint with the government; they want to know whether Delta Hospital did all they could to save him.
Fraser Health said patients are only ever released after thorough assessments.
Kyle was determined to be neurologically stable when he was discharged.
“We are incredibly saddened for this family’s loss,” the health authority said.
“We know they are grieving tremendously and have lots of questions about what happened. We have talked to them a few times already and will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is responding to Losse’s call for tougher regulations, noting their policy has always been that e-cigarettes are to be used only by adults.
In a statement, CVA President Shaun Casey says they’ve been working to institute clear and concise rules to govern the Canadian vaping industry in order to prevent youth from getting their hands on e-cigarettes.
~With files from Michelle Morton
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