On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Ontario Health Minister, Christine Elliott, ordered public hospitals in the province to begin reporting incidents of vaping-related lung illnesses to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Minister Elliott’s order was issued under s. 77.7.1 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This subsection provides the Minister with the power to issue an order directing specified health care providers or health care entities, including public hospitals, to provide the Minister or her delegate with any information specified in the order where the Minister is of the opinion that there exists or there may exist an immediate risk to the health of persons in Ontario from a new or emerging disease.
Wednesday’s order specifically requires public hospitals to provide the Chief Medical Officer of Health with “statistical, non-identifying information related to incidents of vaping-related severe pulmonary disease.”
In a statement released by Minister Elliot, she notes her increased concern “about the prevalence and possible health consequences of vaping, particularly as they affect our youth.” She further notes that “it has become abundantly clear that [Ontario] does not have access to sufficient data and information to understand the potential scope of this issue.”
The first confirmed Ontario case of lung illness related to vaping was reportedly made later on Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
The Health Minister’s order follows repeated publicity of vaping related incidents throughout the United States and last week’s notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of its joint investigation into what it referred to as a “multistate outbreak of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.”