Vaping is a serious public health concern and vaping products carry distinct health risks.
Health Canada is currently investigating the emergence of a severe lung (pulmonary) illness related to the use of vaping products such as e-cigarettes. To date there have been multiple confirmed cases of illness in Canada (including three in B.C.) and over 2000 in the United States, as well as more than 40 vaping-related deaths. As the specific cause of illness is still under investigation, the only way to fully protect your health is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vaping products.
While investigations continue, research has demonstrated adverse effects on both lung and heart health. Recent reports of vaping-related lung illness has recently been linked to vitamin E acetate, a chemical additive found in THC-containing vaping products. Investigations as to whether or not vitamin E acetate is the definitive cause are not yet conclusive. There may be more than one factor causing these illnesses. ***If someone has been using vaping products and is experiencing symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea; and/or fatigue, fever, or weight loss, they are advised to immediately see a health care provider.
We strongly advise refraining from using vaping products that contain THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, has been linked to nearly two-thirds of the cases of vaping-related illness in the US by the Centre for Disease Control, and vitamin E acetate was recently identified as linked to the lung illnesses sustained from vaping.
Youth, young adults and pregnant women are particularly susceptible.
The majority of vaping products include nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Youth, young adults and pregnant women are especially susceptible to vaping-related health risks. Young people are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction than adults. Nicotine can harm brain development in youth and young adults. Further, the e-liquid in vaping products, which is vaporized and then inhaled by users, contains a variety of chemicals. Vaping product use thus poses a health risk to users, and to those nearby who inhale second-hand vapours.
Vaping among youth increased by 74 percent between 2017 and 2018.
This sharp increase in vaping prevalence threatens to addict a new generation of Canadians to the use of nicotine delivery devices, which may also include smoking. While most youth who vape began as non-smokers, vaping has been shown to significantly increase likelihood of cigarette smoking among youth.
We advise people looking to quit or reduce their smoking, seek out safe and proven quit smoking methods.
There is so far little scientific evidence to suggest vaping products are an effective secondary smoking cessation aid. Safe and proven methods include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and quit smoking medications. Whether vaping as a quit smoking method or otherwise, please ensure products used are manufactured by a reputable source, and refrain from modifying the contents.
(Support for quitting or reducing smoking and vaping is available 24 hours a day, free of charge, at www.quitnow.ca).
Updated November 14, 2019