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Health groups take aim at flavoured vapes in new public awareness campaign

Two Canadian health advocacy groups launched a public awareness campaign Wednesday taking aim at flavoured vape products, with a pointed advertisement that highlights how the products are marketed to children.

The video features an actor posing as an ice cream truck vendor handing out an assortment of sweet-sounding flavours to parents and their children in a hidden camera-style spoof.

But as the salesman hands over the treats – with flavours that include vanilla mist, orange twist and cotton candy – he boasts that they’re “infused with 100% organic nicotine.”

The clip wraps with a shot of e-liquid containers featuring the same flavours, and asks if selling nicotine-infused ice cream to kids isn’t ok, “why is this?”

The Canadian Lung Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada partnered to create the campaign, which launched on social media and will run on television over the next three months.

“There was no nicotine in the ice cream, of course,” said lung association CEO Terry Dean. “But the whole idea was to point out the absurdity of these (vape) flavour offerings. We have over 7,000 out there in the market and clearly they’re targeting youth.”

The parents filmed for the advertisement, whose unvarnished expressions and comments are caught on video, react to the vendor with a mix of shock and outrage.

“Why would you give that to kids?” asks one woman incredulously.

Another parent asks skeptically if the inclusion of nicotine is good for kids.

“Like, I’m not a doctor,” the man said. “So, I can’t say for sure.”

Another parent can barely hide his anger, blowing up at the vendor.

“How dare you guys?” he shouts, over shots of parents throwing out the ice cream.

Lesley James, the senior manager of health policy at the Heart & Stroke Foundation, said with youth vaping on the rise the group felt it was important to create the campaign.

“We’ve taken a satirical approach but there’s nothing funny about nicotine addiction,” she said. “These products are marketed to look like candy or dessert…. These appealing flavours are attractive to youth and that high nicotine content makes them addictive.”

The groups are both requesting all levels of government take action to restrict the sale of vape flavours, with the lung association urging a limit on the number of flavours while Heart & Stroke advocates for a full ban.

Vaping proponents defend the products as safer alternative to smoking that can help people quit the habit.

Both the lung association and Heart & Stroke hope the campaign sparks discussions amongst parents, educators and youth.

“We want them to have conversations and know this isn’t just flavoured water,” James said. “These are serious chemicals that can cause really harmful consequences.”

Health Canada did not immediately comment Wednesday, but in December the federal department proposed banning advertising of vaping products in spaces where young people can see them in a bid to rein in the rise of underage e-cigarette use.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu put forward the new rules that would prohibit vaping promotion in specialty shops, businesses and online platforms frequented by youth.

Hajdu also announced requirements that vaping packages feature health warnings and be child-resistant, as well as plans to place limits on nicotine content in vaping liquids to reduce the risk of accidental poisoning.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has became the first province to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices in regulatory changes that take effect April 1, 2020.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Wednesday that government has taken action, banning in-store promotion of vapour products in gas bars and convenience stores, which took effect in the province on Jan. 1.

“Minister Elliott is increasingly concerned about the prevalence and health consequences of youth vaping,” Hayley Chazan said in a statement. “We expect to put forward additional regulations in the coming months.”

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Alberta reports first severe vaping related lung illness to Public Health Agency

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 3.17.42 PMAlberta has reported its first case of a severe vaping-related lung illness after treating a patient in hospital who was having difficulty breathing.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said officials confirmed the case earlier this week.

“In this particular case, the person had coughing, shortness of breath and needed to be admitted to hospital for treatment. They are now recovering at home,” she said Thursday.

“But we know that vaping can cause these severe lung illness types of disease that we’ve seen reported in the U.S.”

As of Dec. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reported 2,561 e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Fifty-five deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and D.C.

The Public Health Agency of Canada had asked provincial health officials to report any probable and confirmed cases as part of a national investigation into the illnesses.

The agency’s website shows there were 14 previous cases across the country from May until November 2019 – three in British Columbia, two in New Brunswick, four in Ontario and five in Quebec.

Hinshaw said the Alberta case involves an adult, but declined to provide any additional information about the age or gender of the person for privacy reasons.

“They weren’t feeling well and they sought medical care and then they received the care that they needed, which is exactly what they should do.”

Hinshaw said the investigation into the type of vaping product is ongoing.

“The information we have is that the product was nicotine containing and it was purchased commercially,” she said.

Public health officials again warned that vaping is not without risk and its long-term health impacts are not known.

“Any time someone inhales a compound in their lungs … there is potential that is damaging the lungs,” said Hinshaw. “It’s just a reminder that people need to be aware of that when they are making choices.”

The Alberta government said it has launched a review of its tobacco and smoking reduction act. Officials are expected to provide a final report to the health minister in the coming weeks.

“Based on its findings, we expect to table new vaping-related legislation this spring,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday on Twitter.



New vaping promotion ban comes into effect in Ontario

shutterstock_1373776301A ban on the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations comes into effect across Ontario on January 1st, as the province mulls further changes to keep the items away from young people.

The regulations were announced by the Progressive Conservatives in the fall, in response to research that shows vaping is on the rise among young Ontarians.

The new rules will bring vaping regulations in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco advertisements, but will still allow the products to be promoted in specialty shops open to those 19 and older.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement that the government intends to take further action in 2020, but did not provide additional details.

“Ontario continues to review the research, trends and emerging evidence on the use and health effects of vapour products to inform future policy decisions,” Hayley Chazan said.

“We expect to put forward additional regulations to protect youth in the new year.”

In early December, Elliott said the government was considering a ban on flavoured vapes, as well as examining the nicotine content in the products and where they should be sold.

With the new regulations banning promotion, Ontario joins seven other Canadian provinces which have introduced similar restrictions.

The province was set to ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores in 2018 under the previous Liberal government, but the Tories paused those regulations after taking office.

At that time, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco – which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation – asked the Ford government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.

The groups said such advertising would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers.

On Monday, the campaign’s director said the latest move by the government is a positive step, but there’s more to be done.

“We’re playing a dangerous game with our kids because while there are many expressions of concern, and some indication of actions from both levels of government, we don’t actually have any substantial changes of any kind in Ontario,” Michael Perley said. “With every week that goes by, there are more young people who are taking up vaping and getting addicted to nicotine.”

Perley urged the government to ban flavoured vaping products, which he said encourage young people to take up the habit. Ontario should also raise the legal age to vape to 21 from 19, he said.

“If we don’t get on with this in the next month or two and have some rules in place, the problem will continue to get worse,” he said.

NDP health critic France Gelinas said the province is behind other jurisdictions when it comes to vaping regulations, and she has introduced a private member’s bill to address the problem. The bill, if passed, would prohibit the promotion of vaping products, regulate flavours, set a maximum amount of nicotine per vape, restrict sales to specialty shops, and require Ontario Health to prepare an annual report on vaping usage and health effects.

“This bill sets up firm obligations on the Ministry of Health to prevent Ontario youth from picking up vaping and becoming addicted to nicotine,” Gelinas said in a statement. “When it comes to protecting young people from e-cigarettes and vaping, Ontario is woefully behind the pack.”


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‘Vast majority’ of vaping illnesses in U.S. blamed on vitamin E

Health officials in the U.S. now blame vitamin E acetate for the “vast majority” of cases in the U.S. outbreak of vaping illnesses and they say doctors should monitor patients more closely after they go home from the hospital.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the updated advice and, in a related move, U.S. authorities investigating how patients obtained possibly tainted vape products said they have shut down 44 websites advertising the sale of illicit vaping cartridges containing THC.

The new medical advice is based on a close look at about 3% of vaping illness patients who returned to the hospital after discharge and seven who died after hospital discharge.

The study suggests that vaping illnesses can get worse, even deadly, after patients leave the hospital and doctors should check on patients within two days of sending them home.

The two-day followup after hospital discharge is shorter than the previous recommendation of one to two weeks.

Compared to other vaping illness patients, those who went back to the hospital were more likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or other breathing problems such as sleep apnea. Those who died after hospital discharge were more likely to be 50 or older.

The CDC also released new information that continues to point to a culprit: vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent that’s been added to illicit THC vaping liquids. THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes users feel high.

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine identified the substance in the lung fluid of 48 out of 51 vaping illness patients and did not find it in the lung fluid of healthy people. Vitamin E acetate also has been found in vaping product samples.

In the strongest language yet about what’s caused the outbreak, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC told reporters during a telephone briefing Dec. 20 that it is her “conclusion” that vitamin E acetate caused the illness in “the vast majority of patients.”

The nation’s outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries continues, but new cases are on the decline.

Interviews with patients and families led investigators to some of the websites that were shut down by the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agencies did not announce any criminal charges.

The 44 website domains now direct visitors to a message in red letters that says “This Site Has Been Seized.”

Investigators have said they are not interested in taking action against individuals who use vaping products, and are focused instead on suppliers.


Ottawa moves to restrict vaping advertisements to prevent youth exposure

Health Canada is proposing to ban advertising of vaping products in spaces where young people can see them in a bid to rein in the rise of underage e-cigarette use.

Minister Patty Hajdu put forward new rules Dec. 19 that would prohibit vaping promotion in specialty shops, businesses and online platforms frequented by youth.

Hajdu also announced requirements that vaping packages feature health warnings and be child-resistant, as well as plans to place limits on nicotine content in vaping liquids to reduce the risk of accidental child poisoning.

“The new measures announced today will help, but there is more to do,” Hajdu said in a statement. “We are working on further steps to protect youth and our message remains clear: vaping comes with serious risks.”

Ottawa has been holding consultations this year on measures to restrict advertising for e-cigarettes in the face of growing evidence that vaping has taken off among teens.

According to the 2018-2019 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, the number of high school students who reported vaping in the past month doubled to 20% since 2016-2017.

A spokesperson for Juul Labs Canada said the e-cigarette maker is reviewing the proposed regulations.

Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, praised the government’s plan as a strong start, but said “comprehensive action” is still needed, such as restricting flavours and implementing a tax.

“Right now, youth are being exposed to e-cigarette advertising in social media, on billboards, on television, and many other places, and that’s going to end with these regulations,” he said.

However, Cunningham urged federal lawmakers to also follow their provincial counterparts in clamping down on the availability of vaping products.

“We have made such progress to reduce youth smoking, but now we’re seeing a whole new generation of kids becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. That simply shouldn’t be happening,” he said.

Earlier this month, Nova Scotia’s health minister announced the province will be the first to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices, and Ontario is considering a similar move.

Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador have also adopted new vaping restrictions in recent months.

The P.E.I. government passed legislation last month that raised the legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21, setting the highest age limit in the country.

In British Columbia, a 10-point plan is aimed at protecting youth from the health risks of vaping, including legislation that caps the nicotine concentration in e-liquids and hiking the provincial sales tax on such products from seven% to 20%.

Cunningham said the issue has taken on new urgency due to mounting concern about the links between vaping and respiratory disease.

In the United States, 47 deaths have been attributed to vaping, and 2,000 cases of severe lung disease have been reported. Thirteen cases of vaping-associated lung illness had been reported in Canada as of Dec. 3. So far there have been no deaths.


Patty Hajdu portrait
07 December 2017

 Ottawa, ONTARIO, on 07 December, 2017. 

Credit: Christian Diotte, House of Commons Photo Services

© HOC-CDC, 2017

CICC supports vaping priorities outlined in Minister of Health’s mandate letter

The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) says it is “encouraged” by priorities shared in the recent release of the ministerial mandate letters, particularly those outlined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in regards to youth vaping.

In his wide-reaching letter to Health Minister Patricia A. Hajdu, Trudeau states as a priority: “In cooperation with other orders of government and key stakeholders, address the rapid rise in youth vaping. This should start with regulations to reduce the promotion and appeal of vaping products to young people and public education to create awareness of health risks. You are encouraged to explore additional measures.”

In a release, the CICC says it is “supportive of steps to keep vaping products out of the hands of minors through an education and awareness campaign, and is eager to work with government to improve regulations that aim to reduce the promotion and appeal to minors.”

President and CEO Anne Kothawala says: “CICC and our members are strong supporters, and have a proven track record, of responsible sales of age-restricted products through strict compliance to age verification regulations and procedures. While we are pleased with the idea of an awareness campaign, we would also strongly encourage the Federal Government to seek opportunities to improve regulations and monitor the enforcement of the online market for vapes and vaping products, which is totally unregulated and responsible for the vast majority of vape products used by minors.”

CICC is pushing to work closely with Minister Hajdu and Health Canada to develop what it calls “fact-based policies that address the serious issues of youth vaping.”



Ontario considering ban on flavoured vaping products, health minister says

The Ontario government’s concern for young residents is prompting it to entertain the idea of banning flavoured vaping products, the province’s health minister said last week, as another Canadian province finalized its own prohibition on the popular items.

Christine Elliott said Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is concerned about the spike in youth vaping and is looking at a variety of measures to address it.

“We do know there is more to be done so we are taking a look at the flavoured vapes,” she said. “We are looking at the nicotine content in vapes. We are looking at where vaping products should be sold … we will be taking more steps, absolutely.”

The minister’s statement came the same day Nova Scotia’s health minister announced that province will be the first to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices starting April 1, 2020.

Randy Delorey said the move is aimed at promoting a smoke-free culture in a province where vaping rates have been growing, especially among young people.

Elliott said her advice to young people is to not start vaping, adding that some of the products – featuring enticing flavours such as cotton candy and peach juice – appear to be targeted to a young audience.

“We don’t know the long-term health effects of them,” she said of the products. “We are studying them now, but it’s not a benign substance. It’s not peach juice. You need to be very concerned about using these products.”

Vaping proponents say it is a safer alternative to smoking and can help people quit that habit.

Ontario said last month it would ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, a measure that will come into effect next month.

The province’s previous Liberal government was set to implement similar measures that would have kicked in last July, but the Progressive Conservatives paused those regulations shortly after taking office.

Health authorities in Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping. In the United States, health officials have reported 1,604 cases of vaping-related illnesses, including 34 deaths.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. issued an updated statement regarding the outbreak of lung illness linked to vaping.

It said it has identified vitamin E acetate as a “chemical of concern” among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries.

The CDC said Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive and thickening agent in THC-containing vaping products.

Elliott issued a ministerial order to public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease earlier this fall.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said Thursday that Ontario should follow Nova Scotia’s lead and ban flavoured vaping products.

“Given the number of teens vaping now that’s becoming a huge issue and we need to stop that,” he said.


Update: A brief look at provincial approaches to vaping regulations

With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, or vaping, health organizations across the country have been pressing for action to limit what they see as a health threat _ particularly to young Canadians. The following is a brief summary of the regulatory measures provinces and territories have enacted in an attempt to deal with the situation.


The B.C. government introduced a 10-point plan on Nov. 14 that includes cutting nicotine content in vapour pods, restricting flavours aimed at young people, increasing taxes and supporting youth-led anti-vaping campaigns. The plan also includes requiring health warnings on packaging and prevents advertising in areas where youth spend time, including bus shelters and community parks. The government said the new regulations will take effect in the spring of 2020.


Alberta has no provincial legislation to address vaping, however, some of its municipalities have bylaws that restrict e-cigarette use in public places. The province’s health minister, Tyler Shandro, has also asked for a review of tobacco and smoking legislation, with a focus on regulating vaping, as soon as this fall. The government says the review will help it develop strategies to protect Albertans from the harms of vaping, tobacco and tobacco-like products, and assess the effectiveness of current legislation.


The Saskatchewan government has passed amendments to its Tobacco Control Act to bring regulation of vaping in line with existing tobacco legislation. The new rules will restrict the sale of vaping products to people 18 and older and prohibit the promotion of such products in businesses frequented by young people, such as arcades, theatres and amusement parks. The use of vape products will also be restricted in and around public buildings, including schools and school grounds. The province says it expects the new regulations to be in force early in the new year.


The Manitoba government’s Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Act prohibits vaping by people under the age of 18. It also bans vaping in indoor public places like schools, libraries, hospitals, malls, restaurants and indoor workplaces. The province’s ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products covers e-cigarettes as well.


Ontario has announced that as Jan. 1, 2020, it will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations. The government said the decision was made in response to new research that shows vaping is on the rise among the province’s youth. However, the promotion of vaping will still be allowed in specialty vape and cannabis shops, which are open to people 19 and older.


In Quebec, the sale and supply of vape products to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, and photo ID is required to buy such products. The online sale of vape products, as well as their use, is banned wherever tobacco smoking is banned. Electronic cigarette advertising – except ads in newspapers or magazines that have an adult readership of not less than 85% – is prohibited, as is the display of e-cigarettes in stores accessible to people under age 18. However, adding flavours to the liquids used in e-cigarettes remains legal, whereas it is not for tobacco products.


New Brunswick bans the sale of e-cigarettes and e-juices to people under age 19, and no one under that age is allowed to enter a vape shop unless accompanied by an adult. Outdoor advertising by vape shops is prohibited and promotional material inside the shops cannot be viewed from the outside. Restrictions on promotional materials that apply to tobacco in other retail shops also apply to e-cigarettes. The sale of flavoured tobacco, including menthol, is also banned in New Brunswick.


Health Minister Randy Delorey has announced the province will ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices as of April 1, 2020. Nova Scotia banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 in 2015. Vaping is also prohibited in any venue where tobacco smoking is banned, and vape shops are not allowed to display e-cigarette advertising outside their businesses.


The P.E.I. legislature passed a bill in November raising the legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21 – the highest age limit in the country. The legislation also bans certain flavours of e-cigarettes. E-cigarette sales are already banned wherever tobacco sales are prohibited. Vape shops are not allowed to display e-cigarette devices in a way that makes them visible from outside the premises. Vaping or product sampling in retail outlets is prohibited, as it is in a public place or workplace. Any advertising that is misleading regarding the characteristics, health effects and health hazards of vaping products is also illegal.


Newfoundland and Labrador bans the sale of vaping products to people under age 19. Sales of such products are also banned wherever tobacco sales are banned, and promotional materials for vaping products cannot be visible inside or outside the shop where they’re sold. Vape shops are allowed to operate in the province providing they only sell vapour products.


Yukon does not currently have any laws dealing with vaping. However, a bill was introduced in its legislative assembly in October that would, if passed, set the minimum age for buying vape products to 19 and prohibit the display or advertising of such products.


In the Northwest Territories, the Smoking Control and Reduction Act was passed in August but is not yet in effect. The rule changes would regulate the sale, display and advertising of vape products and the substances used in e-cigarettes. It would prohibit the use of these products by people under the age of 19 and ban the sale of food items that are designed to resemble vape (and tobacco) products. The sale of vape products at locations such as schools, hospitals, pools and recreational facilities would also be banned.


In Nunavut, current regulations only dictate where people can vape, but the territory’s chief medical officer of health has said amendments to the territory’s Tobacco Control Act to put stricter restrictions on vaping will likely be implemented sometime in 2020. Dr. Michael Patterson said the new rules would likely mirror tobacco regulations, which ban flavoured tobacco and flashy packaging aimed at enticing young people.




Vaping backlash: Nova Scotia bans flavoured e cigarettes, Ontario mulls the same

A nationwide clamp down on vaping continued Thursday as Nova Scotia announced a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, while Ontario hinted that it may soon do the same.

Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey announced the province will be the first to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices in regulatory changes that take effect April 1, 2020.

“This decision is in response to our concerns about the growth in particular of youth vaping,” said Delorey.

Though Nova Scotia has drastically reduced youth smoking rates in the last 30 years, that progress has been stalled by the popularity of flavoured vaping products, he said.

“This is not just about reducing vaping access and use, but it’s also a means to stem potential transfers into traditional tobacco usage as well,” Delorey said.

Between 2017-18, the number of young people smoking and vaping in Canada increased for the first time in several decades, Delorey said.

A recent survey conducted by Smoke Free Nova Scotia suggested 95 per cent of young Nova Scotians who vape said they preferred flavoured juices – and 48% of those surveyed said they would quit if flavours were banned.

A 2016-17 survey suggested 37% of Nova Scotia students in grades 7 to 12 had tried vaping at least once – one of the highest rates in Canada.

Delorey said the province plans to roll out a public education campaign and more vaping legislation next year. Under Nova Scotia’s current law, e-cigarette products cannot be sold to anyone under 19.

Delorey wouldn’t tip his hand on what further restrictive steps would be included in new legislation, but said he has taken notice of what’s being done in other provinces. He said it’s also important that any potential changes align with steps taken at the federal level.

“It doesn’t make sense to duplicate the legislative and regulatory framework between the federal and provincial jurisdictions, so what’s being done at the federal level will have some influence and impact on what we decide to do here provincially,” he said.

Also on Thursday, Ontario’s health minister said her province is also considering a ban on flavoured vaping products. Ontario has already said it would ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations beginning next month.

“We do know there is more to be done so we are taking a look at the flavoured vapes,” Christine Elliott said. “We are looking at the nicotine content in vapes. We are looking at where vaping products should be sold … we will be taking more steps, absolutely.”

Ontario Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the province should follow Nova Scotia’s example and ban flavoured vaping products.

“Given the number of teens vaping now that’s becoming a huge issue and we need to stop that,” he said.

New restrictions on vaping were recently adopted in Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The P.E.I. government passed legislation last month that sets the highest age limit in the country, raising the legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21.

The legislation also bans certain flavours of e-cigarettes and restricts where the products can be sold.

In British Columbia, a 10-point plan is aimed at protecting youth from the health risks of vaping, including legislation that would boost the provincial sales tax on such products from seven per cent to 20 per cent.

Earlier this week, Newfoundland and Labrador banned the introduction of cannabis vape products when pot consumables go on sale later this month.

In November, several health advocacy groups called on the Nova Scotia government to take urgent action to curb what they called a youth vaping epidemic.

Kelly Cull, of the Canadian Cancer Society, called Thursday’s move an “excellent first step.”

She said she’d like to see upcoming legislation raise the minimum age to 21, restrict where e-cigarette products can be sold, cap nicotine levels, and ban online sales.

Robert MacDonald, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, said the province should also consider taxation as a means to reduce vaping.

“We’ve seen that in tobacco (and) it’s reduced rates,” said MacDonald.

In the United States, 47 deaths have been attributed to vaping, and 2,000 cases of severe lung disease have been reported.

Thirteen cases of vaping-associated lung illness had been reported in Canada as of Dec. 3. So far there have been no deaths.

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More clues point to chemical compound in vaping illnesses

Health officials said Nov. 26th they have more evidence that a certain chemical compound is a culprit in a national outbreak of vaping illnesses.

Researchers analyzed black market vaping cartridges seized in Minnesota during the outbreak this year, and vaping liquid seized in that state last year. The newer cartridges contained the compound vitamin E acetate, but none of the older samples did.

They also looked at vaping cartridges collected from a dozen patients. Vitamin E acetate was commonly found in those, too.

The study was small, but it echoes other work that found the compound in the damaged lungs of 29 patients across the country.

“The findings further support a potential role for vitamin E acetate in causing lung injury associated with vaping products,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, a Minnesota health official.

Nearly 2,300 Americans who vape have gotten sick since March, many of them teens and young adults, according to a recent tally by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 47 people have died.

Most who got sick said they had vaped liquids that contain THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana. Vitamin E acetate has recently been used as a thickener in illicit vaping products that contain THC, officials say.