Probable case of vaping-related illness found in B.C.

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VICTORIA, B.C. – Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has confirmed the first probable case of a vaping-related illness in B.C.

There are several other investigations underway that may also meet the case definition of probable or confirmed vaping-related illness in the near future.

“These are the first cases of vaping-related illness in B.C., but we fully expect there will be more as this is quickly emerging as a significant public health issue,” Henry said. “Vaping is turning back the clock on decades of effective anti-smoking efforts and creating a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine.”

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On Sept. 19, 2019, Henry issued a notice under the Reporting Information Affecting Public Health Regulation that requires physicians to report incidences of patients exhibiting symptoms that meet the national case definition.

This includes patients:

  • who report vaping using e-cigarette devices, related products or other means of inhaling a variety of products in the 90 days before symptom onset,
  • who have pulmonary infiltrates on X-ray imaging,
  • whose illnesses are not attributed to other causes.

All reports about vaping-related illnesses from people, health care providers, health authorities and Health Canada will be forwarded to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on behalf of the provincial health officer and will be investigated by public health officials. Only instances that are probable or confirmed will be reported to the public and media. Age, sex and location (including community, town or health authority jurisdiction) will remain confidential in every instance as these cases are being reported at a provincial level.

Making vaping a reportable illness assists public health experts in better understanding the impact of this emerging public health issue on the population in B.C. and will contribute to the knowledge base within North America.

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