Health officials warn of e-cigarettes possible harmful effects
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
This year there have been four reported cases of severe lung disease (or idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia) in Canada that may be related to vaping. Three of the cases occurred in Ontario, and one in British Columbia.
The latest case occurred in London, Ontario. Officials in the Middlesex-London Health Unit say a teen, who used e-cigarettes daily, was given ventilator support in the intensive care unit for a lung injury related to vaping.
The Ontario case marks the first diagnosis linked to vaping in Canada—although vaping (or e-cigarettes) use has been suspected in many of the other cases of severe lung disease.
Closer to home, the Provincial Health Officer (PMO) of British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry, under powers granted to the PMO under the Public Health Act, recently mandated that all British Columbia physicians—including Medical Health Officers—report suspected severe lung disease associated with vaping. This comes on the same day that the Canadian Medical Association, and several other health organizations, requested the federal government curb the marketing of vaping products.
As reported by the Other Press, Douglas College enacted a no-smoking ban on campus—which includes vaping on school property—with approximately 75 percent of voting students supporting the measure.
Regardless of this campus usage ban, interest in vaping has not been curtailed among college-age Canadians—with 29.3 percent of Canadians ages 20 to 24 stating that they have tried e-cigarettes in the 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs (CTADS) Survey.
Vaping – An explanation
Vaping is inhaling aerosol through a device termed an electronic cigarette. A vaping device (also known as e-cigarettes, vap pen, mode, tanks, e-hookahs), consist of a mouthpiece, tank or reservoir that can hold vaping liquid or pod, a
heating element—used to produce the vapour, and a battery.
The battery powers the heating element which in turn heats the vaping liquid thus producing a collection of fine droplets contained within air—an aerosol. The user then inhales the aerosol into their mouth through the mouthpiece and into their lungs, where it can enter the bloodstream, whereas excess vapor is exhaled through the mouth or nose.
Although experts consider the process less harmful than smoking, the newer generations of e-cigarettes are starting to contain high levels of nicotine—as much as 5 percent—as well as other chemicals which are known to be harmful to humans.
According to a New England Journal of Medicine editorial, one of the most popular e-cigarette products called Juul, may deliver unprecedentedly high levels of nicotine per unit “…equivalent to approximately 20 combustible cigarettes.”