Briefing

Quebec sees Canada’s first confirmed case of vaping-related illness

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The patient, in their 50s, became severely ill after a few months using legal nicotine vaping products as a way to quit smoking.(CBC)

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Talking point: The unidentified patient isn’t the first in Canada to suffer health issues apparently related to vaping—last week, a London, Ont. teenager was put on life support after using a vaping device, and federal officials are investigating a handful of similar cases nationwide. However, the Quebec patient is the first to meet the official federal definition, which includes a list of symptoms combined with a history of vaping, a negative test on a lung infection and no plausible alternative diagnoses. The news comes amid a wave of regulatory panic over vaping devices in Canada and the U.S., where the official number of vaping-related illnesses has climbed to 805. A handful of U.S. legislators—including President Donald Trump—have called for sweeping bans; Massachusetts has issued a four-month ban on all vapes, and Rhode Island, Michigan and New York have banned most flavoured vaping products. In Canada, Nunavut is considering tightening its regulations. But anti-tobacco activists argue that imposing vaping bans while cigarettes remain legal could have a negative public health impact and bolster the underground vape market.