Ontario government orders public hospitals to report vape related illnesses

Sep 18 2019, 10:34 am

As vape-related illnesses and deaths continue to be on the rise, the Ontario government has ordered public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease.

Ontario’s Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, says in light of the growing evidence, she has become increasingly concerned about the possible health consequences of vaping, especially their impact on young people.

Elliott added that it’s clear the province doesn’t have the access to sufficient data and information to understand the potential scope of this issue.

“For this reason, and as a first step toward identifying solutions that meaningfully respond to this emerging issue, I am issuing a Minister’s Order under section 77.7.1 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act,” said Elliott in a statement.

This will require public hospitals in Ontario to provide the Chief Medical Officer of Health with statistical, non-identifying information related to incidences of vaping-related severe pulmonary disease.

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Elliott says this information, which was not previously available to the Ministry of Health, will be critical as the province continues to engage with leading experts to identify evidence-based solutions that protect youth from the potential dangers of vaping.

This announcement comes on the same day the first known Canadian case of a vaping-related illness was reported in London, Ontario.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is set to hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon regarding a youth diagnosed with a severe respiratory illness that health officials say is linked to vaping.

This comes nearly two weeks after the federal government issued a warning to Canadians who vape, asking them to monitor themselves for signs of pulmonary illnesses and seek attention immediately if they experience these symptoms.

The federal health agency issued the warning after recent cases of acute pulmonary illnesses and two recent deaths currently being investigated for links to vaping in the US.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control (US CDC), there were 215 cases of pulmonary illness reported in 25 states that are currently under investigation, as of August 27.