Public health officials in Quebec have declared the first case of vaping-related illness in the province.
There are few details surrounding the confirmed case, which was announced on Friday. Authorities say a man in his 50s who started vaping in April to stop smoking and is now suffering from severe pulmonary disease.
“Following the confirmation of this first case in Quebec, it is necessary to reiterate the importance of remaining vigilant,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the director of public health, in a statement.
The announcement comes after Health Canada said on Thursday there were still no confirmed cases of vaping-related illness in the country, despite a widely publicized suspected case announced by local health officials in London, Ont., last week.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement on Friday it is “concerned by the continuing rise of cases of severe pulmonary illnesses” in the U.S. and with a confirmed case in Quebec. The agency is working to provide guidance to provincial health authorities in investigations into possible cases of vaping-related diseases.
In the U.S., officials have reported hundreds of Americans with breathing illnesses related to vaping, and the death toll has risen to 12.
In Quebec, public health officials warn that vaping is “not without risk” and its long-term effects are still unknown.
“We recommend that youth and pregnant women and people who aren’t vaping to not start vaping,” said Dr. Mylene Drouin with Montreal public health.
Authorities say people who choose to vape must monitor themselves for symptoms of lung disease, including coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain. If they have symptoms, they must immediately consult a doctor.
The province’s health and social services network has been put on alert for breathing and pulmonary illnesses related to vaping.
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— With files from Global News’ Amanda Jelowicki and the Associated Press