BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency Tuesday in response to confirmed and suspected cases of severe lung disease from the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products.
In a news release sent to 22News, Baker called for a temporary four-month statewide ban on the sale of flavored and non-flavored vaping products in both retail stores and online. The ban includes all tobacco and marijuana vaping products and devices.
The ban will take effect immediately and last until January 25, 2020.
The release states that 61 cases have been reported to the DPH. Three confirmed cases and two probable cases of vaping-associated pulmonary disease have already been reported to the CDC. The rest are pending further clinical analysis.
“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. 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.”–Governor Charlie Baker
Below is a statement sent to 22News from Tony Abboud, the Executive Director of the Vapor Technology Association:
“Our hearts go out to individuals who have become ill or passed away and their families, and we believe this should be a call to action to officials to keep illegal products off the street. There is clear and compelling evidence that demonstrates that the illnesses are caused by unregulated, black market THC and CBD products—not regulated nicotine vapor products. In addition to making it more difficult for the more than 750,000 adult smokers in Massachusetts to quit traditional cigarettes, such a ban would have a meaningful adverse economic impact on an industry that contributes more than 2,500 jobs and more than $130 million in wages to the state of Massachusetts. We stand ready to work with Governor Baker on thoughtful and effective regulation.”Tony Abboud, the Executive Director of the Vapor Technology Association
According to the governor’s office, during the temporary ban, the administration will work with medical experts, state and federal officials to better understand vaping illnesses and how best to address this public health crisis.
“Vaping products are marketed and sold in nearly 8,000 flavors that make them easier to use and more appealing to youth. Today’s actions include a ban on flavored products, inclusive of mint and menthol, which we know are widely used by young people. It is important that we continue to educate youth and parents about the dangers of vaping.”-Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
For more information on the health emergency visit their website.