Massachusetts Bans Sale of all Vaping Devices for Four Months
Recently, the governor of Massachusetts declared a public health emergency and enacted a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in the state. This is the first action like this to be put in place in the United States. Governor Charlie Barker’s order was approved by the Public Health Council in the state and applies to all vaping products and devices. While it’s only a temporary ban, it’s broader in scope than other vape-related bans in different states. For example, Michigan and New York moved to ban only flavored vape products.
Governor Barker’s move comes amid mounting concerns about the health effects of vaping and the potential for it to cause deaths. There have been dozens of possible lung disease cases reported in Massachusetts, thought to be related to the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
The ban applies to flavored and non-flavored products and is set to run through January 25. The goal of the four-month ban is to allow medical experts the time to determine what it is about vaping that’s causing illnesses and also to give the state time to decide whether or not new regulations are needed for safer vaping products.
Teenage Vaping Epidemic
The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently issued an advisory regarding the risks of e-cigarette use among teens and teen vaping. Adams gave a news conference where he declared teen vaping an epidemic in the U.S. He urged action and encouraged parents and teachers to educate themselves about teen vaping and the risks of e-cigarettes as well as speaking to their children about these dangers.
The advisory came as statistics show dramatic increases in the use of e-cigarettes among high school students over the past year. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, it represents an unprecedented rise not seen before with any other substances. Federal officials have especially been targeting the Juul electronic cigarette company because their devices are the most popular among young people. Federal officials say they’re concerned because many young people don’t know e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine. In fact, a single Juul cartridge can have as much nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes.
Increase in Vaping-Related Illnesses
According to Governor Barker’s administration, at the time the ban was announced, there had been more than 60 cases of potential lung illnesses reported to the state. Three confirmed cases of vaping-related pulmonary disease have been reported to the CDC from Massachusetts, and two probable cases. The number of vaping illnesses in the entire country has gone up to more than 1,800 cases and Alaska is the only state without reported vaping illnesses.
Federal officials expect the number of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths to rise in the coming months. Convenience store owners have expressed opposition to the ban because they rely on the foot traffic vaping products bring to their stores, but state officials say it’s important to find solutions to the vaping problems in the state and to address vaping particularly among young people.
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