As U.S. public health investigators continue to look into a vaping-related illness that has sickened hundreds and killed five, local advocates are keeping a close eye on Manitoba companies.
Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance executive director John McDonald says the organization is constantly monitoring what local vape shops are doing to attract customers.
“Just the other day, ourselves and the Canadian Cancer Society were looking at a vaping company here in the city who was advertising really close to a high school and that’s problematic and it contravenes the regulations around advertising,” he said.
“One of the things that’s problematic for us that we are seeing across Canada and the world, especially with younger people, is that we are seeing a significant increase in the number of people who are vaping and with that, there’s evidence of a small uptake in youth smoking rates.”
McDonald says vaping is seen as a way to reduce smoking, but people can still get addicted to nicotine in electronic cigarettes.
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He says it can be just as hard to quit vaping as it is to quit smoking.
“We have a new Facebook presence called the Quit Crowd, where people can go on there and share stories about their quit journeys, motivations and help people who are struggling to get through a craving.”
There have been no reports of the same vaping sickness in Canada, but Health Canada issued a warning recently, urging people who vape to watch for symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. It also said health-care professionals should ask patients about their use of e-cigarette products if they have respiratory symptoms.