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Do e-cigarettes contain more nicotine that regular cigarettes? – The Globe and Mail

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‘What we do know is that both smoking and vaping can be addictive,’ says Dr. Peter Selby, chief of medicine and psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. (File Photo).

David Mercado/Reuters

The question: I’ve heard that e-cigarettes may contain far more nicotine than regular cigarettes. Does that mean vaping is more addictive than smoking?

The answer: It’s true that some vaping devices can deliver more nicotine than cigarettes. But there are many different types of electronic cigarettes, and how they are used can affect the amount of nicotine that ends up in the bloodstream, and eventually the brain, says Dr. Robert Schwartz, a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

The battery-powered e-cigarettes heat up a liquid containing nicotine to produce an aerosol, or vapour, which can be inhaled. (Flavourings and other chemicals may also be added to the fluid mixture.)

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A lot depends on the nicotine concentration in the fluid and the power, or heat, generated by the e-cigarette. Other variables include how hard, how long and how often a person inhales. “Unless you know how to puff on the thing properly, and for long enough to heat the liquid sufficiently, you are not going to get huge amounts of nicotine,” says Schwartz.

So, it isn’t clear-cut whether cigarettes or e-cigarettes deliver more nicotine. But one thing is clear:

“What we do know is that both smoking and vaping can be addictive,” says Dr. Peter Selby, chief of medicine and psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto

In fact, any amount of inhaled, chewed or snorted nicotine can be problematic – meaning that a person is likely to progress to daily use following a period of experimentation. “Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances we are aware of. It’s as addictive as heroin,” says Schwartz.

Originally, many public health experts looked upon vaping as potentially less harmful than smoking cigarettes, which produce about 7,000 toxic chemicals – including carcinogens – by burning tobacco. Some hope the devices might serve as quitting aids – or, at the very least, help reduce the number of harmful substances that smokers inhale.

But the recent surge in vaping among teens has set off alarm bells in the public-health community. And those concerns are intensified by reports of lung injuries among some vapers.

“My biggest concern is that we have already addicted a whole new generation of people to nicotine,” says Schwartz.

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Teenagers – whose brains are still developing – are especially vulnerable to the addictive powers of nicotine, according to a growing body of research.

Nicotine attaches to receptors in the brain, thereby triggering the release of dopamine – a chemical messenger involved in pleasure and a wide range of other neurological functions. It basically produces a feel-good high.

When teens smoke or vape, it is believed that their brains create more receptors to handle the influx of nicotine. As the number of receptors increases, they need higher levels of nicotine to get the same buzz.

Some researchers have dubbed this effect the “nico-teen” brain. They also speculate that these neurological changes may have long-term consequences for mood and mental focus.

In the debate over vaping, much of the recent attention has been about the spate of serious lung injuries. Many of these cases appear to be linked to the vaping of cannabis oils such as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The latest evidence suggests that vitamin E acetate, a filler sometimes added to black-market THC, might be causing the injuries.

But even without THC, routine vaping – and the other chemicals in vaping liquids – may lead to long-term health problems.

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Vaping-related illnesses have been in the spotlight recently amid accusations the makers of the products are targeting them at youth. Dr. James MacKillop outlines some strategies to use at home in conversations with your children about vaping. MacKillop is the director of the Peter Boris Centre For Addictions Research and co-director of the Michael G. Degroote Centre For Medicinal Cannabis Research. The Globe and Mail (staff)

“Kids who vape have almost twice the rate of coughing and wheezing as kids who don’t vape,” says Schwartz. Are these symptoms the early warning signs of chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma? Or, might vaping contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease? “We don’t yet know for sure,” says Schwartz. He adds that it will likely take some time to establish a clear picture of the risks.

Selby is also concerned that young people who have never used tobacco are now being drawn to vaping. He says better government regulations are needed to safeguard adolescents. However, he thinks vaping should not be vilified to the point where the devices are actually banned.

“Some individuals are going to take up tobacco smoking anyway, and they will be better off if they have the option to vape,” says Selby. “It’s all about relative risks between combustible cigarettes and vaping devices that deliver fewer dangerous chemicals.”

Indeed, despite the various problems linked to e-cigarettes, “there is very broad consensus in the scientific community that smoking is the most harmful way to use nicotine and it’s known to cause premature death in at least half of users,” says Schwartz.

According to Selby, “it would be completely ridiculous to ban the sale of vaping devices, while giving free reign to the most dangerous form of nicotine delivery – cigarettes.”

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Fort McMurray reports six recoveries, nine new cases; FMCSD reports more cases at schools – Fort McMurray Today

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Elsie Yanik Catholic School in Parsons Creek in Fort McMurray, Alta. on May 16, 2018. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Sister Mary Phillips, making it the third school in Fort McMurray to have an outbreak.

The outbreak was announced Wednesday after two people tested positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday, FMCSD announced a third person had tested positive for COVID-19 at Holy Trinity High School, where an outbreak on Sept. 20.

On the same day, a second case was recorded at Elsie Yanik Catholic School, while St. Martha School identified its first case.

Contact tracing is still being conducted, but in all cases health officials say there is no evidence the cases come from in-school transmission.

AHS has allowed the schools to remain open.

In her Thursday update, Dr. Deena Hinshaw assured Albertans that schools remain safe for students.

Since schools started earlier this month, Hinsahw said Alberta has seen a week-over-week decrease in cases per week in school-aged children.

“I remind everyone that although two confirmed cases in a school may qualify as an outbreak, it is not a sign that a school is unsafe,” she said.

To date, there are 32 outbreaks in schools across the province and 163 active cases related to schools.

Hinshaw also addressed Wednesday’s report on opioid deaths in Alberta, which found opioids killed more Albertans between April and June than COVID-19 has since March.

Health officials blamed the social and economic fallout of lockdowns for the surge in deaths.

“The rise in deaths from opioid poisoning is reminder that the ripple effects of COVID-19 are large and that we need to continue seeking a balance in our response,” said Hinshaw.

“We must embrace two needs at once. The need in minimize the impact of COVID-19 and to minimize the impact that these restrictions have on the rest of our health.”

Provincial COVID-19 updates for September 24:

  • A total of 17,190 people have been infected with the virus. The earliest known COVID-19 case in Alberta was detected in a blood sample collected on Feb. 24. The first case was announced on March 5.
  • Of those cases, 15,467 people have recovered, or roughly 89.9 per cent of all cases.
  • There were 158 new cases reported across Alberta in the last 24 hours.
  • There are 1,462 active cases in Alberta.
  • There are 58 cases hospitalized, with 14 people fighting the virus in intensive care units.
  • There has been one new death related to COVID-19, bringing Alberta’s total to 261.
  • 8,371 tests for COVID-19 were completed in the last 24 hours.
  • To date, 1,255,039 tests for COVID-19 have been carried out on 958,534 people.

COVID-19 in Fort McMurray:

  • There were six new recoveries in Fort McMurray in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 194 since the first case was reported in the city on March 19.
  • There were nine new active cases in Fort McMurray in the past 24 hours, bringing the known total to 48.
  • There has been one death related to COVID-19 in Fort McMurray reported since Sept. 8.

COVID-19 in rural areas:

  • No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Wood Buffalo’s rural areas in the past 24 hours, keeping the total active cases at four.
  • There were no new recoveries in Wood Buffalo’s rural areas in the past 24 hours, keeping the total at 61 recoveries.
  • AHS has not confirmed which rural communities had active COVID-19 cases, only community leaders have.
  • Fort McKay’s First Nation and Métis leaders have made it mandatory to wear masks in the community.
  • There have been no deaths related to COVID-19 in the RMWB’s rural areas.

Local COVID-19 outbreaks:

  • Information on school outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services. No school in Wood Buffalo has been ordered to close.
  • Information on workplace outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services.
  • An outbreak at Canadian Natural’s Albian site was declared after five workers tested positive for the virus on Aug. 13.
  • A precautionary outbreak was declared at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre’s Medical unit when a patient tested positive on Aug. 21.
  • An outbreak at the Syncrude sites north of Fort McMurray was declared on Sept. 3 when 11 workers tested positive for the virus. As of Sept. 14, 15 workers have COVID-19 while 13 have recovered.
  • An outbreak at Suncor’s base plant was declared on Sept. 4 after five workers tested positive for the virus.
  • An outbreak at Earls Kitchen and Bar on Morrison Street was declared on Sept. 14. As of Sept. 23, all staff have recovered. The restaurant has been allowed to remain open.
  • An outbreak at Holy Trinity High School and St. Gabriel’s School was declared on Sept. 20. At both schools, at least two people tested positive for the virus.
  • An outbreak was declared at Sister Mary Phillips School on Sept. 23. There have been two positive cases for COVID-19 reported in relation to the school.
  • St. Martha School reported its first COVID-19 case on Sept. 24. 
  • Two positive cases at Elsie Yanik Catholic School were reported on Sept. 24. 
  • An outbreak is declared when five people at a public site, such as a workplace, test positive for COVID-19. At continuing care centres, the number is two. However, AHS chose to declare a precautionary outbreak when one person tested positive for the virus at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
  • An outbreak is over when no new COVID-19 cases have been reported after 30 days.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, Sept. 24 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • A COVID-19 outbreak that has hit three units within Foothills hospital in Calgary has claimed three lives as of Wednesday, with 17 other patients and nine staff testing positive. A total of 114 staff are in isolation.
  • An outbreak has also been declared in one unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. According to Alberta Health Services, the outbreak involves three health-care workers. At-risk patients in the unit have been tested and no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified among patients. AHS did not identify which health unit was affected.
  • Two more people in Alberta have died from COVID-19, and 143 new cases were reported Wednesday, bringing the province’s total active cases to 1,520, down by 45 from the previous day’s total of 1,565.
  • The most recent deaths were a woman in her 80s in the Calgary zone and a woman in her 70s whose death was linked to an outbreak at Heimstaed Lodge in La Crete, 670 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
  • There have been 260 deaths from the disease in Alberta since the pandemic began in early March.
  • As of Wednesday, there were 27 schools with outbreaks, out of more than 2,400 in the province: 10 schools in the Calgary zone, 11 in the Edmonton zone, one in Lethbridge, one in St. Albert, one in Okotoks and three in northern Alberta.
  • Austin O’Brien in Edmonton became the fourth school in the province on the AHS watch list, meaning schools with outbreaks of five or more cases, joining Vimy Ridge and Highlands School in Edmonton and St. Wilfrid in Calgary.
  • There are now three schools in the province where it’s believed in-school transmission occurred.
  • Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is scheduled to give an update at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and CBC Alberta will carry it live on the website and on Facebook.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Here’s the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Wednesday:

  • Calgary zone: 481, down 4 from Tuesday.
  • Edmonton zone: 821, up 1.
  • North zone: 155, down 33.
  • Central zone: 20, down 4.
  • South zone: 38, down 3.
  • Unknown: 5, down 2.

Premier Jason Kenney gave a news conference Thursday with the Alberta government’s response to Wednesday’s  throne speech, saying he sees grounds for more constitutional challenges should the federal Liberal government follow through with its promises.

He says there was nothing in the Trudeau government’s plan for the ailing oil and gas sector, an industry that has suffered thousands of job losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy industry slump.

He also told reporters federal government plans jeopardize global investments in Alberta’s forestry and fertilizer sectors — moves the premier believes are an infringement on Alberta’s right to develop its own natural resources.

The University of Calgary announced on Thursday that classes will continue to be delivered with a blend of face-to-face and online formats for the winter semester.

Departments will structure face-to-face course components with a 30-student maximum cap as a guideline, with some possible exceptions. The winter term will see a reopening of University of Calgary campuses from 20 per cent to 30 per cent in-person learning, the school said.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on three units at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. Three patients have died, and 17 other patients and nine staff members have tested positive, according to Alberta Health Services. AHS said all at-risk patients are being offered testing, and contact tracing for anyone who may have been in contact with infected individuals is ongoing. 

There are 1,520 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Of the 59 people in hospital, 13 are in intensive care.

(CBC)

As of Wednesday, there were 27 schools with outbreaks: 10 schools in the Calgary zone, 11 in the Edmonton zone, one in Lethbridge, one in St. Albert, one in Okotoks and three in northern Alberta.

Four schools in Alberta, Vimy Ridge, Highlands and Austin O’Brien in Edmonton, and St. Wilfrid Elementary in Calgary, are under watch status, which means they have outbreaks of five or more cases.

COVID survivor support websites have popped up across the globe with individuals expressing concerns about the lingering impact of the virus. Many complain of persistent cough, breathing problems, fatigue and chest and joint pain.

A snapshot of the active cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Sept. 23. (CBC)

Organizers of Edmonton’s Camp Pekiwewin are calling for more robust COVID-19 support at the Rossdale encampment as health officials confirm the first reported cases in Edmonton’s homeless community. 

With COVID-19 cases spiking in the city and Alberta Health Services confirming an outbreak linked to Edmonton’s largest shelter on Wednesday, Pekiwewin organizers want the city and province to take action to prevent the virus from sweeping through the camp. 

Six people linked to the Hope Mission’s emergency shelter have tested positive for COVID-19, Alberta Health Services said Wednesday. 

AHS spokesperson Sabrina Atwal said they began investigating after one person in the homeless population tested positive. Atwal confirmed that all six cases are clients — the first reported among Edmonton’s homeless community.

Health workers continue to do contact tracing and swab tests on those who may have been exposed.

Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 147,753 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 127,788 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,285.

The fate of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government hangs in the balance as Parliament resumes all normal operations today for the first time in six months.

Opposition parties will give their official responses to Wednesday’s speech from the throne, but they’ve already signalled that Trudeau can’t count on support from any of them to survive the eventual confidence vote and avoid plunging the country into an election in the midst of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario wants to avoid imposing lockdown-style measures to combat a second wave of COVID-19 but is prepared to take “targeted action” such as closing certain higher-risk businesses, CBC News has learned. 

CBC News obtained a copy of Ontario’s fall pandemic preparedness plan, still in draft form even as Premier Doug Ford’s government is in the midst of announcing some of its elements.

The 21-page draft, provided by a government source this week, acknowledges the recent upsurge in new COVID-19 cases, and lays out three possible scenarios of what the second wave could look like: small, moderate or large.

CBC News has dug deep into the data collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to examine how COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, affects the young, the elderly, men and women in order to better understand what’s most likely to land you in hospital — or worse.

Among the findings:

  • In the early days, people over 80 years old made up the largest group getting sick as long-term care homes were hit hard, but CBC’s analysis reveals that since mid-August, infections among young people (under 30) now outnumber the elderly. 
  • Close to 10 per cent of people who tested positive for coronavirus ended up in hospital, according to the cases tracked by PHAC, with two per cent landing in ICU — especially in certain age groups.
  • Six per cent of cases have been fatal, with huge differences in terms of ages and, to a lesser extent, gender.

Self-assessment and supports:

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19, but testing is open to anyone, even without symptoms. 

The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.

If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms have disappeared. 

You can find Alberta Health Services’ latest coronavirus updates here.

The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day. 

Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.

There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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COVID-19 outbreak declared at fifth Ottawa school, 52 schools with a COVID-19 case – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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With COVID-19 cases reported at 52 schools across Ottawa, public health officials warn staff and students are beginning to contact COVID-19 while at school.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Lycee Claudel, the fifth outbreak at an Ottawa school since the start of the school year three weeks ago. Ottawa Public Health reports two students at the French private school have tested positive for the virus.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health says it’s starting to see that some students and staff are getting sick from interactions at school.

“The first handful of cases were of students and staff that went to school unknowing that they were sick with COVID, meaning they became infected with COVID outside of the school setting,” said the statement from Ottawa Public Health.

“Over the last couple of weeks, OPH is starting to see that some students and staff are now getting sick from interactions at school. These are situations when OPH declares an outbreak.”

COVID-19 cases have been reported at 52 schools with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Ottawa Catholic School Board, and the French public and catholic school boards.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Thursday morning, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said her goal was to keep schools open during the pandemic, adding that takes limiting the COVID-19 transmission in the community. 

Ottawa Public Health says once an outbreak is confirmed in a school, it reaches out to parents of close contacts to let them know and help them with the next steps, which include staying home, monitoring for symptoms and presenting for testing when it’s appropriate.

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at the following Ottawa schools:

  • Ecole elementaire catholique Montfort
  • Franco-Ouest
  • Gabrielle Roy Public School
  • Lycee Claudel
  • Monsignor Paul Baxter School

Ottawa Public Health ordered Monsignor Paul Baxter School closed for at least two weeks following four cases of COVID-19. Two students and two staff members have tested positive.

Ottawa Public Health says in the event of a school outbreak, the ability for the school to remain open will depend on how many groups of students are affected.  Some cohorts may be advised to go for testing and to self-isolate at home until a date determined by OPH.

“If there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there is risk of spread to additional cohorts, there may be a decision to close the entire school in order to stop transmission in the school.”

Here is a breakdown of the COVID-19 cases in Ottawa’s schools:

Ottawa Carleton District School Board: Nine students (eight students, one teacher tested positive)

Ottawa Catholic School Board: 11 schools (14 students, two staff members tested positive)

Conseil des ecole Catholique Centre-Est: 21 schools (32 cases in all schools)

Conseil des ecoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario: 11 schools (15 student cases in schools)

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