New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health says there have been two probable vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary illness in the province.
Dr. Jennifer Russell says people who use vaping products are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pains.
“Vaping is not safe for young people or pregnant women,” Russell said in a press release Friday. “I remind all New Brunswickers that vaping is not without risk and that the potential long-term effects of vaping remain unknown.”
The two probable cases in New Brunswick follow a confirmed case of vaping-related illness in Quebec. In that case, a man in his 50s became ill after starting to vape in April as a way to stop smoking. He was said to be suffering from “severe pulmonary disease.”
There has also been a report of a suspected case in London, Ont., involving a teenager who was put on life support. In the U.S., at least 12 people have died from a mysterious respiratory illness related to vaping, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement in September it is “concerned by the continuing rise of cases of severe pulmonary illnesses” in the U.S. and with a confirmed case in Quebec.
Russell adds that New Brunswick physicians are keeping a much closer watch on the situation.
“We have provided the physicians with case definitions and things like that for surveillance purposes,” she said. “That way we can keep track of the information that we do collect and pass that along to the Public Health Agency of Canada.”
Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey says his government is considering changing regulations to ban flavoured vaping products.
“Our medical health team and public health are monitoring (and) working with their counterparts across the country to identify, monitor any cases,” Delorey said.
Nova Scotia’s official opposition has called for a complete ban on ownership of vaping products by people under the age of 18.
In New Brunswick, the chief medical officer of health is working with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and is encouraging doctors to be on alert for potential cases.
With files from Andrew Cromwell.