First Vaping-Associated Illness Confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Children, Seniors and Social Development
  • Health and Community Services

16 January 2020

The Provincial Government’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is confirming a probable case of vaping-associated lung illness in Newfoundland and Labrador. The person affected became ill in late 2019, and was hospitalized. They have since recovered.

The substance of concern is a cannabis product, which was not available for further testing. As per the Personal Health Information Act, no further details regarding this case, the individual or their location in the province will not be released.

To date in Canada, there have been 16 confirmed or probable cases of vaping-associated lung illnesses. While the person affected in Newfoundland and Labrador used a cannabis product, others affected across the country have used nicotine vaping products or flavour-only vaping products.

Vaping is not harmless. It can increase your exposure to harmful chemicals, and the long-term health effects are unknown. Vaping is not recommended for youth, pregnant women, or non-smokers.

Given the recent and ongoing concerns about vaping-associated lung illness, and the limited overall understanding of the short and long-term health risks, the safest approach for people who use cannabis, is to avoid smoking or vaping cannabis extracts.

If you use vaping products, never modify them or add any substances not intended by the manufacturer.

Youth who vape should seek support to quit completely. If you vape and want to quit, please advise  your health care provider about your vaping history, especially if you have respiratory symptoms, so they can advise on the safest and most effective way to do so.

Quotes
“I am worried about the increase of vaping in Newfoundland and Labrador and its popularity with youth. Vaping is a significant public health concern. If you don’t already smoke, don’t vape.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services

“Our goal is to protect the health of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are working with our community partners, as well as our federal, provincial and territorial colleagues, to determine how to best address and prevent this new and evolving illness. We strongly encourage individuals not to use cannabis vaping products.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

“The emergence of vaping-associated lung illness is quite concerning, and we will continue to monitor for cases. To reduce your risk of this illness, we recommend that you do not vape any products. If you vape or smoke and wish to quit, please see your health care provider for advice on safe and effective ways to do so.”
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald
Chief Medical Officer of Health

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Learn more
Public Advisory: Residents Reminded About the Risks of Cannabis Use

Information on Vaping-associated Lung Illness

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL@HCS_GovNL and @CSSD_GovNL

Media contacts
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982
kathydickspeyton@gov.nl.ca

Gina MacArthur
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 730-2977
ginamacarthur@gov.nl.ca

2020 01 16 4:15 pm