Edmonton

Alberta confirms province's 1st case of severe vaping-associated lung illness

Alberta has recorded its first case of severe vaping-associated lung illness, the province's chief medical officer of health said Thursday.

Case marks 15th vaping-associated lung illness reported in Canada

An Alberta vaper went to hospital in early December after symptoms including shortness of breath and coughing progressed. The patient was diagnosed with severe vaping-associated lung illness. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Alberta has recorded its first case of severe vaping-associated lung illness, the province's chief medical officer of health said Thursday.

The illness was a result of exposure to commercially available nicotine products, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.

The patient, an adult, started to feel symptoms including shortness of breath and coughing in early December, Hinshaw said.

As symptoms progressed, the patient went to hospital where they were treated and later released, she said at a news conference in Edmonton.

Alberta Health is not releasing where the patient is from, or where he or she was treated, in the interest of protecting the patient's privacy, Hinshaw said.

The Alberta case marks the 15th vaping-associated lung illness reported in the country, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In Canada, the definition of a vaping-related severe pulmonary illness case includes shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, with or without vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

"With only 15 cases to date in Canada, it is not a common condition but it can be very severe condition," Hinshaw said.
"Vaping is not without risk."

Last fall, the Alberta government launched a review of its Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act to look at ways of addressing a rise in teen vaping.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro is aware of Alberta's first case of severe vaping-related illness, he said Thursday on Twitter. Shandro said he is expecting a final report from the review shortly.

"Based on its findings, we expect to table new vaping-related legislation this spring," Shandro said in a tweet.

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