Baby using vape prompts Quebec police investigation

Quebec’s Families Ministry and provincial police are investigating what they call a “disturbing video” that’s gone viral on social media.

The footage shows a Quebec teen laughing while a baby is vaping and coughing.

Text on the video reads in french, “When you have nothing to do so you make a 16-month-old baby vape.”

Police say they were alerted to the video on March 3, and begun an investigation with the Families Ministry, Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) and the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP) to determine the events around the video.

It has since been confirmed that the events in the video happened at a daycare in Mirabel, Quebec.

While this case may be a stand-alone so far in Canada, there have been similar incidents worldwide in the past.

In Australia, a video went viral Thursday showing an 11-month-old choking to death after being forced to use a vape.

In 2020, two teens in Pennsylvania were investigated by police, in connection to a video where a two-year-old was given a vape.

Since the Quebec video has gone viral, it’s raised a lot of concerns.

Dr. Nicholas Chadi, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent and addiction medicine at St. Justine Children’s Hospital added there are a lot of dangers that can come from vapes.

“The aerosol that comes out of a vape contains, yes, water vapor, but also different particles that are dissolved in that aerosol, in that smoke. And so if the vape contains nicotine, there will be some amount of nicotine that is in the aerosol and that could be absorbed by the person who is inhaling directly from the aerosol or also the secondhand aerosol could contain some as well,” he explained.

“We also know that there are traces of different chemicals that, sometimes heavy metals, can get lodged in the lungs, can cause different harms. And if we inhale them in large quantities, can certainly lead to some harm in the long term.”

Dr. Chadi notes elements in vapes like nicotine will also have much stronger effects on babies and young children.

“If we think of a developing toddler, we would think that the effects of nicotine might be felt much stronger. So nicotine is a stimulating substance that can lead to rapid heart rate increase and blood pressure,” he explained. “And if we take it in, a large amount can lead to some forms of intoxication.

“So, nausea, vomiting, feeling unwell, headaches had a rash. We wouldn’t want a young child to inhale a lot of nicotine. Any human being could feel the effects of nicotine, but if you’re a small person, a smaller amount could definitely have a bigger effect.”

Valérie Assouline, a family lawyer, adds the daycare should be a safe space, and parents shouldn’t have to worry about their children while they are there.

“You should not worry that a teenager is giving a vape or anything else to your baby. So, that’s a concern. And it is actually a concern with home daycares because, you know, there’s all the family, it’s in the home, it’s a daycare in a home. So, all that should be taken care of and taken into consideration,” she explained. “For a teenager to be in contact alone with that baby with a vape — that’s actually very concerning.

The problem is that today, we minimize vaping. It’s usual.”

“I have seen some parents vaping in front of their children. And, we have to think about that as a society since we have vaping a lot in schools, is that something we want to transmit as a message? And right now, it’s gone too far. Where the vaping is, is being given to a baby.”

While vapes have become more noticeable over the last decade in Canada, especially with young adults, federal regulations have been introduced. Dr. Chadi is left wondering how the regulations are enforced after the events of the viral video.

“We know that it’s fairly easy for young people to get access to vaping devices. They can oftentimes buy them from convenience stores if they try before they even get checked for ID, they can get them from older peers or relatives or from friends at school,” he noted. “So I think one question is how are we regulating these products? And also how are reinforcing the rules to make sure that the rules and regulations actually work to prevent young people from using vapes, since they are some they are harmful in some ways.”

No charges have been laid in connection to the video.

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