Vaping related illnesses on the radar of the Saskatchewan ministry of health

The provincial ministry of health is investigating illnesses related to vaping.

This comes after several people have fallen ill, and have even died from diseases in relation to vaping. The ministry also highlights there is a high rate of vaping among Saskatchewan youth.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the province is asking local Intensive Care Unit’s to report any case of vaping related diseases to their local medical health officer to investigate further.

“Ultimately in Canada, we want all such cases to be reported to the chief of the health office of Canada, and develop a sense of ‘are we seeing in Canada potentially going forward what the U.S. has been seeing over the last 30 days?’”

Dr. Shahab said the U.S. has seen some severe cases on this file.

“They have been seeing mostly young people present with severe respiratory illness,” Dr. Shahab said. “Severe means shortness of breath to an extent that you need to be intubated or ventilated, you need to be in an ICU.

They have had around 500-plus instances, and unfortunately (at least) seven deaths already.”

Dr. Shahab said if you don’t smoke tobacco products, he encourages you to avoid vaping.

“There is at present a sense that if you are a current smoker, it may be less harmful to vape than smoke, so that may still be an option people may choose to use,” Dr. Shahab said. “We have to realize that smoking has been going on for decades, the risk factors are well described, while vaping may be considered for existing smokers a potentially less harmful alternative, certainly the short and long term effects of vaping are not well described.”

There have not been any cases confirmed in Saskatchewan at this time.

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