Mass. governor issues 4-month ban on vape product sales

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In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

BOSTON (WPRI) — In response to reports of illnesses and deaths related to vaping, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a public health emergency and placed a temporary ban on the sale of all vape products.

Baker cited recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which revealed there have been more than 500 cases of lung injury and eight deaths nationwide potentially linked to vaping. The CDC is investigating the outbreak along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products is exploding and we are seeing reports of serious lung illnesses, particularly in our young people,” Baker said. “The purpose of this public health emergency is to temporarily pause all sales of vaping products so that we can work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents.”

Earlier this month, the Mass. Department of Public Health mandated that physicians in the state must immediately report potential cases of lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes and vaping. As of Tuesday, 61 cases have been reported, according to Baker’s office, of which three confirmed cases and two probable cases have been forwarded to the CDC while the rest are pending further clinical analysis.

The ban goes into effect immediately and lasts through Jan. 25, 2020. It prohibits the retail and online sale of all flavored, non-flavored, nicotine and marijuana vaping products including devices, liquids, refill pods and cartridges.

Baker’s office said his administration will work with legislators and public health officials to consider the next steps and possible reforms.

In Rhode Island, a state representative has proposed a bill that would ban all flavored vaping products.

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