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Vaping teens, drug store cannabis, plant-based proteins, and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • Health Canada is planning a “multi-phase campaign” to warn Canadian youth about the health risks of vaping. The campaign will include ads, social media influencers, and events in high schools and community venues to target youth between the ages of 13 and 18.
  • A draft of an updated version of Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating more plants and plant-based protein but less meat and dairy. The guide, last updated in 2007, will replace the food groups “meat and alternatives” and “milk and milk products” with a single group called “protein foods”.
  • The federal government launched a new financial support program for thalidomide survivors. Eligible applicants will receive a payment of $250,000 and ongoing tax-free payments.
  • Health Canada says doctors should not prescribe Fibristal to women who have liver problems or had liver problems in the past. A review of the drug, used to treat uterine fibroids in women of childbearing age, found a possible link to serious liver injuries.
  • The dominant influenza strain this year, H1N1, is affecting children and youth more severely than usual. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 414 Canadians under age 16 have been hospitalized for influenza since September, up from 195 during the same period last year.
  • Shopper’s Drug Mart launched an online platform for selling medical marijuana. Product information is available nationwide but only Ontario residents can make purchases at this time.
  • British Columbia will spend $105 million over three years on its Fair Pharmacare program. Deductibles and copayments for prescription drugs will be eliminated for 240,000 low-income households.
  • Alberta Health Services will consult families in the province to improve its assisted death program. Problems raised during the program’s first two years include finding the proper way to report assisted deaths and the lengthy process of preparing medications for the service in patients’ homes, which “took a toll on families standing by for the end.”
  • Family physicians in Nova Scotia feel undervalued and potentially marginalized in the province’s health care system, according to a position paper by Doctors Nova Scotia. This problem should be addressed because family doctors “are the backbone of any effective health care system,” states the report.
  • A Quebec hospital was told to remove English from its signage, including its “Emergency” sign, by the province’s language watchdog. Under Quebec’s language law Bill 101, all signage must be in French unless most of a facility’s users speak another language or there are health or safety reasons to use another language.

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