There are now three probable cases of vaping-related illness in B.C., according to Health Canada.
In a bulletin issued this week, the agency said there are now seven cases of vaping-related illnesses across Canada.
Of those, two are confirmed cases in Quebec, with two probable cases in New Brunswick and two in B.C.
Earlier this fall, Health Canada directed medical professionals across the country to report any vaping-related pulmonary illnesses. B.C. saw its first case reported on Oct. 16.
Doctors of BC president Kathleen Ross said the rise in vaping-related illness is worrying, as statistics show nearly one in five youths have taken up vaping.
“Certainly it’s a big step backwards in our anti-smoking efforts,” Ross said in an interview with Black Press Media in October.
“This is definitely going to contribute to a new generation of people addicted to nicotine, and potentially exposed to other forms of smoking that we were successfully battling.”
Ross said the directive from Health Canada to report vaping-related illness is helping, as will more research on the subject. Education, she said, will be key in slowing down the growth of vaping among young people.
“Teens are under the impression that beeping is not harmful,” she said. “And they’re asking us to show us the facts.”
Ross is worried that although the severe, acute symptoms of vaping are being looked at seriously now, it’s impossible to know the longterm effects right now.
“We really don’t have a clear picture of this full spectrum of the illnesses associated with vaping, she said. “We see symptoms starting with nausea or vomiting, stomach upset… if the symptoms were relatively minor, they may well not come to the attention of a physician.”