OLYMPIA, Wash. — The four-month ban on flavored vaping products in Washington state ends Friday, February 7.
The state’s Board of Health implemented a temporary ban in October following a number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
The ban followed an executive order by Gov. Jay Inslee asking for an emergency ban on flavored vaping products, including flavored THC vapor products. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
During his announcement of the executive order in September, Inslee argued that flavored vaping products are attractive to children, saying flavors such as bubble gum and cinnamon exist for "one reason and one reason only - make it more appealing to young children."
As of Feb. 4, 25 vaping-related illnesses have been reported in Washington state since April 2019, according to the Department of Health. The products being used are a mix of nicotine and THC.
Below is the age breakdown of vaping-related illnesses in the state:
- 10 to 19 years old - 5 cases
- 20-29 years old - 7 cases
- 30-39 years old - 7 cases
- 40 - 49 years old - 3 cases
- 70 to 79 years old - 3 cases
Country-wide, the number of vaping-related illnesses surpassed 1,000 by October. Doctors said the illnesses, which first appeared in March, resemble an inhalation injury. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Most people who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, but some said they vaped only nicotine.
More than a third of patients are under age 21, but the deaths have been older adults who apparently had more difficulty recovering.
An effort in Olympia to make the ban on flavored vape products was derailed by an amendment in the Senate. The amendment to state Senate Bill 6254 proposes allowing the sale of flavored vapor products in shops that only serve those who are over 21 years old. Flavored vapor products would not be allowed to be sold in grocery stores or gas stations.
Meanwhile, federal law bans flavored vaping products associated with Juul and other more expensive devices that can be reloaded, but not so-called 'disposable' devices that are tossed once they’re used up.