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Canada’s top doctors urge youth to quit vaping over health risks

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The top doctors across the country are putting up a united front in speaking out against vaping.

Chief health officers from every province and territory have put out a statement, saying they’re increasingly concerned with the rise of vaping among young people.

RELATED: Yukon boosts smoking age to 19, creates laws on vaping to limit youth exposure

They’re afraid that years of progress on reducing tobacco use will be reversed.

“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,” reads the statement.

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Youth are particularly susceptible to nicotine’s negative effects, they say, which can alter their brain development, and affect concentration and memory.

The officers say they are concerned about some severe illnesses emerging related to vaping.

“While the harms of vaping products are starting to emerge, researchers are still gathering data on their potential effectiveness as a means of helping smokers quit smoking. What we do know is that, regardless of a person’s age, vaping can lead to nicotine addiction and can increase exposure to harmful chemicals for people who are non-smokers,” the health officers say.

“We are also very concerned about the emergence of severe pulmonary illness related to vaping in the United States and now in Canada. We have been working together to monitor the situation closely, to identify potential cases in Canada, and to support the investigation into the cause(s) of the illnesses.”

RELATED: Health Canada was warned about effects of vaping over a year ago: expert

The group recommends Canadians stop using e-cigarettes or vaping products – including those with THC – but not return to cigarettes if vaping was being used to to quit smoking. Instead, it’s recommended that you speak to a health care provider about nicotine replacement therapies.

If you have symptoms of pulmonary illness – such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain – you’re encouraged to seek medical help.

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