2 new probable cases of vaping-related illness reported in Ontario

In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a woman using a vaping device exhales a puff of vapour in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File

The province has confirmed that there have been two new probable cases of vaping-related illness in Woodstock and Burlington.

The confirmation comes a day after an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) detailing the case of a London-area teenager who was hospitalized for 47 days with a lung disease — the first known Canadian case of a vaping-related illness.

The article suggested the teen’s illness differed from the kinds of respiratory conditions seen in vaping-related cases in the United States. The doctors say the unidentified boy’s illness appeared to resemble so-called popcorn lung, which is normally found in factory workers forced to breathe in toxic chemicals often seen in products like microwave popcorn.

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On Friday, the Ministry of Health confirmed to Global News Radio 980 CFPL that two probable new cases of vaping-related illnesses were reported in Ontario. Officials have released few details but say one of them used cannabis daily while the other vaped three to four times a week.

Both patients have since been discharged from hospital.

As more and more cases are reported across the country, medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) Dr. Chris Mackie is pushing for government action.

“We have rates of vaping use in the 80 per cent range in some high schools in London. Across the country, the average is about one in five Grade 12 students is vaping. That means they’re addicted to nicotine, a very addictive substance. And the concentration of nicotine in vaping is often much higher than even in cigarettes,” he explained.

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“We have those regulations in place for tobacco — you cannot advertise tobacco in Canada. Then if you look at the municipal level, municipalities — just like they did with smoking, banning smoking in restaurants — they can take steps like that where they limit where vaping can and cannot occur.”

In Ontario, the provincial government is moving to ban advertisements and promotion of vaping products at places like gas stations and convenience stores starting Jan. 1, 2020.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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