OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill to make the state’s temporary ban on flavored vaping products permanent brought out a passionate response from both sides of the issue.
Senate Bill 6254 would only allow for the sale of e-juices considered flavorless or tobacco-flavored.
The bill would also limit the nicotine levels and size of e-juice containers.
The state’s Board of Health implemented a temporary ban last October following a number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths. That ban is in effect until Feb. 7, 2020.
Supporters of the bill told state senators Wednesday making the ban permanent would help prevent youth from getting addicted to nicotine.
"Right now what we've seen is the epidemic going beyond anything that any of us imagined," said Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle.
Pollet and health officials testified that flavors such as bubble gum and strawberry make vaping attractive to teens.
But opponents said a ban would put vape stores out of business and send people who vape back to cigarettes.
"We aren't banning flavored tobacco products. We aren't banning flavored alcohols,” said Gregory Conley with the American Vaping Association. “Why do we have different standards for products that help adult smokers quit?”
Since April 2019, there have been 23 cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping reported in Washington, according to the state's Department of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to investigate the cause of lung illnesses related to vaping, which have been reported across the country.