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Ontario tracking vaping related illnesses

Amid growing concerns of vaping related illnesses, public health offices in Ontario will now keep track of reported illnesses in connection with vaping and e-cigarettes.

Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott issued the order Wednesday morning.

“In light of the growing evidence, I have become increasingly concerned about the prevalence and possible health consequences of vaping, particularly as they affect our youth. At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that we do not have access to sufficient data and information to understand the potential scope of this issue,” said Elliott in a statement released Wednesday.

The chief medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, said this will help shape policy and treatment protocols.

“There’s a lot that needs to be done to understand what is causing this. All they can relate it so far is the e-cigarette use. But what specific type of e-cigarette or what specific chemical is causing that? We don’t have that information,” said Ahmed.

He said there is no way of knowing right now how many people in Ontario or Canada have suffered from any adverse effects from e-cigarettes because no one was collecting that data until now.

“I think they are taking the appropriate steps to understand the situation better so that we can find an appropriate solution for that,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed said any e-cigarette user who develops coughing or shortness of breath that lasts for more than a few days without any other obvious cause should see their physician.