Briefing

Canadian doctors identify a new vaping-related illness distinct from the U.S. outbreak

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An otherwise healthy 17-year-old from London, Ont. nearly died after using flavoured e-cigarettes, often adding THC, daily for five months, according to a report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He originally went to the hospital with a severe cough and was sent home with a prescription to treat pneumonia. His symptoms worsened and he was put on a ventilator five days later. Doctors were considering a lung transplant before he started responding to a high-dose treatment of corticosteroids. The illness is considered chronic, whereas most vapers who have gotten sick in the U.S. show acute symptoms of inflammatory pneumonia. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The patient’s illness, called bronchiolitis obliterans, is similar to a chronic lung disease seen in factory workers exposed to diacetyl, a chemical used in microwave popcorn. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of the teen’s illness, but they think it could be flavouring ingredients in e-cigarettes. The report follows the B.C. government’s proposal to limit nicotine content, ban flavours and levy a tax on e-cigarettes. The rules would be the strictest yet in Canada. While there have been a handful of vaping illnesses reported in Canada, the numbers aren’t nearly as high as in the U.S. Still, health officials have called for nationwide emergency regulations on e-cigarettes before more people to get sick.