Health Canada is warning Canadians who vape to monitor themselves for signs of pulmonary illnesses and seek attention immediately if they experience these symptoms.
The federal health agency issued the warning after recent cases of acute pulmonary illnesses and two recent deaths currently being investigated for links to vaping in the US.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control (US CDC), there were 215 cases of pulmonary illness reported in 25 states that are currently under investigation, as of August 27.
One patient in Illinois who had a history of recent e-cigarette use was hospitalized with severe pulmonary disease and subsequently died. On September 3, the Oregon Health Authority announced it was investigating the death of an individual who experienced severe respiratory issues after using an e-cigarette. In at least one of the deaths, investigators say the vape pen was modified and contained cannabis from a dispensary.
“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appeared to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses,” said the agencies, in a statement.
The OHA said the cluster of illnesses was mostly affecting teenagers and young adults.
Patients have been experiencing similar respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
Currently, the CDC and FDA are investigating the brands and types of e-cigarette products and whether and if any of them should be regulated by the FDA.
Health Canada says to date, it has not seen any “evidence of similar pulmonary illnesses occurring in Canada.”
“Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada are in close contact with the US FDA and the US CDC to better understand their investigation into the cause of the illnesses.”
The Government of Canada is also monitoring data sources for any indications of similar issues that are currently being experienced in the US.
“Vaping is not without risk, and the potential long-term effects of vaping remain unknown. Non-smokers, people who are pregnant and young people should not vape,” says the agency.