LONDON, Ont. – Canadian health officials yesterday reported the country’s first case of the mysterious condition related to vaping that recently has been making headlines in the United States. Canadian media reports said the patient was a “youth” that has since recovered, but was so seriously affected that they had to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit.
Time.com reported Dr. Christopher Mackie, medical officer of health and chief executive officer of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, where the patient was treated, said, “As far as we are aware this is the first case of vaping related illness that’s been reported in Canada.”
Mackie, who spoke to media at a press conference, did not clarify if the patient had been using nicotine vape products, cannabis products, or both.
In response to reports, eight Canadian health advocate groups have called for the federal government to regulate vape products with policies similar to current nicotine product restrictions in Canada. Public health advocates have asked the government to issue an interim order, when the new government forms in the fall.
“Youth vaping is now a public health crisis,” said Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Sandy Buchman, in a press release. “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.”
The health groups also want a nicotine level restriction of 20 mg/ml, similar to the European Union’s model. The U.S. has no level limit for nicotine vape products, Canadian Cancer Society Analyst Rob Cunningham said, as reported by news network CBC.ca.
“We do not need to wait for a death in Canada to warrant action,” Terry Dean, CEO of the Canadian Lung Association said, according to CBC.ca.
The health organizations that issued the request for vaping regulation are 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.
Canadian vape retailer trade group Canadian Vaping Association called for an immediate ban on “nicotine e-liquid vape products” by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as prohibiting ads for vape products in any retail location that was not age-restricted, such as convenience stores and gas stations.
The vaping-related condition has swept through thirty-eight U.S. states so far, with one case in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Public health officials today updated the number of vaping related illnesses in the U.S. to 530 cases—up from 380 cases that had been identified. There have also been eight confirmed fatalities—in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon, and two deaths in California.
Reported deaths quickly escalated in the U.S. at the beginning of September. Since then, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were reported to have opened an Emergency Investigation Center, as a hub for experts, doctors, and public health officials across the country.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was reported today to have launched a criminal investigation into the cases of vaping-related illnesses. The FDA investigation apparently was started not long after the first rash of cases in the U.S.
Major media networks today removed e-cigarette advertising from their programming schedules, including CBS, WarnerMedia, and Viacom.
The states of Michigan and New York in recent weeks have banned flavored e-cigarettes, which many experts say are targeted at underage vape users.
Post has been updated to included latest reported fatality in the U.S., bring the total number of deaths to eight.