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Washington latest state to call for ban on flavored vaping products

FDA opens criminal probe into vaping illness

The governor of Washington on Friday directed state health officials to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes when they convene next month. 

If the state health department uses its emergency authority to pass the ban on October 9, it will forbid the sale of all flavored vaping products, including ones with the cannabinoid THC. The temporary ban can be renewed after 120 days. 

Governor Jay Inslee also issued the state liquor and cannabis board to draft legislation permanently banning all flavored vaping products and any ingredients found to be the cause of related lung illnesses. It would also require all ingredients in flavored vaping products to be disclosed. 

After making the announcement in a press conference, Gov. Inslee said he "wanted to do more by this executive order" and described the order as "a floor, not a ceiling" to discuss vaping.   

The executive order comes amid growing nationwide concern on the hazards associated with the vaping products. In Washington, there are seven current cases of lung illnesses in the state, most recently in Pierce County.

Vaping-related death toll rises to 12, health officials say

Washington is not the only state calling for a ban on vaping. Michigan, New York and Rhode Island all declared emergency bans this month on flavored vaping products, excluding tobacco flavor. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker went even further when he declared a public health emergency and ordered a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping devices in the state, not just flavored products. 

E-cigarette makers like Juul have marketed their products to users as a less-deadly alternative to smoking, which has divided health officials. The American Lung Association has said that "e-cigarettes are not safe," but the American Cancer Society said they're "likely to be significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes."

But vaping products have been subjected to increasing scrutiny after they were connected to an outbreak of more than 800 mysterious pulmonary illnesses that have impacted e-cigarette users nationwide, including 12 deaths. What is causing the outbreak is not yet known. 

Other states like Arkansas, Texas and Washington have enacted laws raising the legal age to buy any tobacco product including e-cigarettes to 21. 

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