Washington becomes the latest state to seek ban of flavored vaping products

Following 12 recent deaths and hundreds of illnesses that are being blamed on vaping, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee is seeking to impose an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarette products. The state would join Michigan and New York in banning flavored products, while Massachusetts has halted all sales of e-cigarettes for four months.

The Washington ban includes products that contain THC. “If I had a loved one, I would just tell them you’re playing dice with your lungs,” Inslee said, according to the Seattle Times.

Because the Washington State Board of Health doesn’t meet until October 9, Inslee’s executive order won’t go into effect until the board uses its emergency power to enact the ban.

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating the causes of the lung injuries, and it said Friday that most of them have been linked to THC capsules. The deaths have occurred in 10 states, while 804 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses have been reported in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Based on this recent data, the CDC recommends people consider refraining from use of e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly those containing THC,” the agency said Friday.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Alex Wong / Getty Images

The CDC still isn’t sure exactly what is causing the outbreak. Part of the difficulty is patients who’ve been diagnosed with the lung problems report using a variety of products and substances, making it difficult to narrow down the culprit, if it is only a single one.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump held a press conference about the recent outbreak of illnesses, and his administration has proposed a nationwide ban of flavored e-cigarettes.

“Not only is it a problem overall, but really, specifically, with respect for children,” he said. “We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.”

On September 25, Kevin Burns stepped down as CEO of Juul Labs. The popular e-cigarette company — the single biggest e-cigarette manufacturer in the country — announced that it was suspending all print, broadcast, and digital advertising in the U.S. amid the lung injuries and concerns about teen vaping.

Federal authorities have also announced a criminal investigation against Juul. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also investigating, An FTC probe is looking into whether Juul’s marketing targeted minors.

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