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Massachusetts becomes the latest state to enact a ban on e-cigarettes

Massachusetts is the fourth state to ban vaping amid an outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and a criminal probe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The Boston Globe reports that Governor Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in the state of Massachusetts. Baker called the recent diseases and deaths related to vaping a “public health emergency.” 

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Once approved by the state’s state’s Public Health Council, the temporary ban takes effect immediately until January 25, 2020. The ban would apply to flavored and unflavored e-cigarettes, as well as marijuana vaping products since weed is legal in Massachusetts. 

“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 in a statement to the Boston Globe on Tuesday. “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.”

While the ban is only temporary for now, Massachusetts joins states like Michigan, California, and New York that have made similar bans to vaping products amid health concerns. 

As of September 19, there have been 530 cases of reported lung injuries across 38 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Boston Globe reports that in Massachusetts alone, 61 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported throughout the state. Seven people have died as a result of vaping. 

The CDC and the FDA don’t know what aspect of vaping is causing disease and death, but officials are looking at vitamin E oil that is added to some THC vaping cartridges as a possible cause. Patients have reported a variety of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and fever. 

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the FDA had started a criminal probe into vaping-related illnesses and deaths. The investigation is reportedly focusing on the supply chain of vaping products. 

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said he wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes nationwide and issue new regulatory guidance on vapes. The FDA plans to implement new restrictions on e-cigarettes and other forms of vaping in 2021. 

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