The ‘substantial rise of vaping’ among Canadian youth has prompted a warning from chief medical officers across the country. (iStock)

Chief medical officers issue warning on vaping


Chief medical officers from across Canada have issued a statement of concern about vaping. They are worried about “the substantial rise” of vaping among Canadian youth. And they say non-smokers who vape products containing nicotine are at risk of moving on to cigarettes.

While years of campaigning has reduced the incidence of cigarette smoking among young people, there is a surge in the numbers who are vaping and that has officials worried smoking will increase again. 

Nicotine is said to have have negative effects particularly for youth such as altering their brain development and affecting memory and concentration.

Chief medical officers are concerned that non-smokers who vape nicotine will move on to smoking cigarettes. (iStock)

Additives may not have been tested for vaping

There are claims that vaping helps people quit smoking, but that has not yet been proven scientifically. It is known that, regardless of someone’s age, vaping can lead to nicotine addiction for non-smokers and can increase exposure to harmful chemicals.

The medical officers note some chemicals such as flavourings in vaping products may be safe to eat, but have not necessarily been safety tested for inhalation. They express great concern about the cases of severe lung illness related to vaping reported in the U.S. and in Canada and are investigating the causes. Research so far, suggests products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.

Medical officers says the increase in youth vaping may reverse the success of programs to reduce the smoking of cigarettes. (iStock)

‘We cannot stand by and watch’

While further investigation is underway, the medical officers recommend people consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly those obtained illegally. People should see a healthcare provider immediately if they have used vaping products and begin to suffer cough, shortness of breath or chest pain. And the officers urge people to not return to smoking cigarettes if they are using vaping as a means of quitting. 

The medical officers  are calling on policy makers to create environments that prevent youth vaping by restricting accessibility and availability of vaping products and reducing their appeal to youth.

Their statement reads:  “We cannot stand by and watch a new generation of Canadians become dependent on nicotine or be exposed to products that could have significant negative consequences for their health.”

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