BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday declared a public health emergency and announced a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products amid a nationwide uptick in cases of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products, leading vape shop owners to fear for their businesses.
Baker called for a four-month statewide ban on the sale of flavored and non-flavored vaping products in both retail stores and online.
During the temporary ban, Baker says his administration will work with medical experts, and state and federal officials to better understand vaping illnesses and work on additional steps to address this public health crisis, including new legislation and regulations.
In a vote after Baker’s announcement, the state Public Health Commission unanimously approved the ban, 11-0.
“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.”
The illnesses, which resemble an inhalation injury, have helped trigger a swift backlash against e-cigarettes, including a proposed federal ban on flavors by the Trump administration, state-level restrictions in Michigan and New York, and an end to sales in Walmart stores nationwide.
The CDC is investigating the outbreak but has not yet identified a common electronic cigarette or ingredient.
To date, the CDC has confirmed 530 cases of lung injuries across 38 states. While many patients reported recent use of THC products, some reported using both THC and nicotine products.
The Massachusetts Department of Health said last week that there has been a steady rise in vaping-related illnesses since a mandate was issued requiring clinicians across the state to report all suspected cases of unexplained e-cigarette or vaping-associated pulmonary disease.
Nearly 10 people across the nation have died from vaping-related illnesses in recent weeks.
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