Canadian health officials on alert after reports of vaping illnesses in the U.S.

Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says he and colleagues from across Canada are on alert as health officials in the United States continue to investigate nearly 200 cases of severe respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping.

Dr. Robert Strang says surveillance is being strengthened and he is sending informal email inquiries to respiratory specialists and intensive care units at Nova Scotia hospitals to see if there are reports of similar cases.

Strang says Health Canada was already looking at strengthening its regulations around e-cigarettes prior to the American health scare, and officials are collaborating on draft regulations that would strengthen protections for youth, in particular.

He says they are also looking at provincial regulations to see it they can be strengthened.

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada confirm they are actively monitoring the recent clusters of acute pulmonary illnesses and one death reportedly linked to the use of vaping products in the United States.

Maryse Durette, a spokeswoman for the two agencies, says Canadian health officials have not yet seen evidence of similar pulmonary illness clusters occurring in Canada.

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