Newly banned flavored e-cigarettes found in 16 stores

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island state health officials say they found flavored e-cigarettes being sold in 16 stores despite a state ban on their sale.

The state Department of Health says 75 stores across the state have been visited by health inspectors since Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the ban on flavored e-cigarettes in September.

There are 408 shops in Rhode Island licensed to sell e-cigarettes.

The Health Department began inspecting them after Raimondo prohibited the sale of any flavored vapes to protect children.

A department spokesman said Thursday that the first phase of inspections is focused on education rather than punishment, so the stores won’t be fined.

Health officials announced in October that two state residents have been treated for confirmed or probable cases of vaping-related lung illness.

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