Eight health organizations are calling for urgent action from the federal government to treat vaping like smoking.
The organizations are asking for an interim order to curb the marketing of vaping products, restrict the flavours available and regulate nicotine levels.
The groups say waiting any longer for regulations would only increase risk to Canadians, and they are asking for federal parties to commit to issuing an interim order within 60 days of forming government this fall.
“Youth vaping is now a public health crisis. There is mounting evidence for it and we need to act now instead of reacting later. We are calling on each political party to commit to enact or to support an urgent interim order,” said Dr. Sandy Buchman, president of the Canadian Medical Association, in a press release.
WATCH: First vaping-related illness reported in Canada
The group of health organizations includes the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Lung Association, Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac, Heart & Stroke, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
The call comes after a the announcement of a serious vaping-related illness in London, Ont.
U.S. health authorities are investigating 530 suspected cases of vaping-related illness. There have been seven U.S. deaths linked to the products, and Illinois is reporting a possible eighth, as of Thursday. No single substance or compound has been implicated in all the illnesses, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
“There is mounting evidence linking vaping to serious short- and long-term health harms,” said Dr. Andrew Pipe, chair of the board of directors at Heart & Stoke, in a press release. “It is imperative for consumers to be aware on the risks before they use these products. Without health warnings or testing and reporting requirements, consumers will remain naïve to these risks.”
A survey done for Health Canada and published this year found that one-fifth of high school students report using vaping products, as are one-seventh of children aged 13 and 14.
—With files from Reuters