OTTAWA, Oct. 11, 2019 /CNW/ - We are increasingly concerned by the substantial rise of vaping among Canadian youth. As nicotine in any form is highly addictive, non-smokers who vape products containing nicotine are at risk of going on to use tobacco products such as cigarettes.
As we stated in April 2019, Canada
Youth are particularly susceptible to nicotine's negative effects, which can include altering their brain development and affecting their memory and concentration.
While the harms of vaping products are starting to emerge, researchers are still gathering data on their potential effectiveness as a means of helping smokers quit smoking. What we do know is that, regardless of a person's age, vaping can lead to nicotine addiction and can increase exposure to harmful chemicals for people who are non-smokers.
Individuals who use vaping products breathe in a mixture of chemicals, which include harmful and potentially harmful substances such as nicotine, solvents, cancer-causing chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde), heavy metals and flavourings. It is also not clear what underlying risk there may be from inhalation of ultra-fine particles created by the mechanism of vaping technology that permits inhalation deep into the lung.
Some chemicals (e.g., flavourings) in vaping products may be safe to eat, but have not necessarily been tested for safety when inhaled. Limited information is available on the health effects of inhaling glycerol (a common vaping diluent) and the majority of flavourings used in vaping liquids.
We cannot stand by and watch a new generation of Canadians become dependent on nicotine or be exposed to products that could have significant negative consequences for their health.
We are also very concerned about the emergence of severe pulmonary illness related to vaping in the United States and now in Canada. We have been working together to monitor the situation closely, to identify potential cases in Canada, and to support the investigation into the cause(s) of the illnesses.
To date, the investigation into severe pulmonary illness in the United States suggests that products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) play a role in the outbreak. The suspected cause is a chemical exposure, but the specific chemical or chemicals remain unknown at this time. No single product or substance has been linked to all cases, and more information is needed to know whether a single product, substance, brand or method of use is responsible for the outbreak.
While the severe pulmonary illnesses related to vaping are under investigation, we recommend to all Canadians that:
Even in the absence of the severe pulmonary illnesses related to vaping, Canadians should remember that:
Adults and youth needing support to deal with nicotine addiction, whether they are using tobacco or vaping products, should speak to their health care provider and seek out proven cessation therapies, such as medication, or approved nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums, patches and lozenges. Canadians can also access supports from trained specialists who can help them develop a quit-smoking plan and provide referrals in their community.
We reiterate our call from April: We need to create environments that prevent youth vaping by strengthening regulatory frameworks and policies that restrict the accessibility and availability of vaping products and reduce the appeal of such products to youth. This includes plain packaging, health warnings and regulating the sale and marketing of vaping products and flavourings, and putting in place school and community policies that reduce use and encourage positive youth development.
In Canada, we have seen the first cases of pulmonary illness related to vaping and a number of other incidents are under investigation. Together with colleagues in the United States, we are all doing our part to find out what is causing these illnesses. Until more is known, we repeat our call for Canadians to consider refraining from vaping.
Dr. Theresa TamChief Public Health Officer of Canada
Dr. Bonnie HenryProvincial Health Officer, British ColumbiaChair, Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health
Dr. Brendan E. HanleyChief Medical Officer of Health, YukonVice-Chair, Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health
Dr. Janice FitzgeraldI/Chief Medical Officer of Health, Newfoundland and Labrador
Dr. Heather MorrisonChief Public Health Officer, Prince Edward Island
Dr. Robert StrangChief Medical Officer of Health, Nova Scotia
Dr. Jennifer RussellChief Medical Officer of Health, New Brunswick
Dr. Horacio ArrudaDirector of Public Health and Assistant Deputy MinisterMinistry of Health and Social Services, Québec
Dr. David WilliamsChief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario
Dr. Brent RoussinChief Public Health Officer, Manitoba
Dr. Saqib ShahabChief Medical Health Officer, Saskatchewan
Dr. Deena HinshawChief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta
Dr. Michael PattersonChief Medical Officer of Health, Nunavut
Dr. Kami KandolaChief Public Health Officer, Northwest Territories
Dr. Evan AdamsChief Medical Officer, First Nations Health Authority, British Columbia
Dr. Tom WongChief Medical Officer, Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada