Inslee issues executive order to change how state will regulate vaping industry in light of recent health crisis
From the Washington Governor’s Office
Gov. Jay Inslee announced an executive order at a Seattle press conference Friday that changes how agencies will regulate, monitor, and communicate about a variety of vaping products.
“We aren’t waiting for Big Tobacco to tell us what is in their products,” Inslee said. “We aren’t going to take health guidance from them, because we know that their goals are to make money and create new customers. That is what they are interested in. We are interested in ensuring that adults and young people have known and regulated ingredients in vaping products. Everyone deserves to know what is in the vaping liquid they are inhaling into their lungs.”
The announcement comes after medical professionals reported seven cases of severe lung illness in Washington from vaping devices or e-cigarette products.
The Center for Disease Control has reported at least 12 deaths nationwide, as well as more than 800 cases of lung injury possibly related to these products.
The governor’s executive order directs the Washington State Department of Health to:
- Ask the state Board of Health to adopt emergency rules to ban all flavored vapor products, including flavored THC products.
The order also directs DOH and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to:
- Immediately ban any ingredients or sources that are found to be a cause of this acute lung illness; and
- Work together to draft Governor-request legislation for 2020 that will ban all flavored vapor products; require disclosure of ingredients in vapor products; increase regulatory oversight; limit bulk sales; expand the educational campaign; and clarify the Department of Health’s authority in situations like this where there is a harm or risk to the public but the specific cause of that harm is unknown.
- Immediately take whatever steps they can to warn consumers of the risks, encourage health care providers to report all suspected cases, and expand their educational campaign to increase awareness around the dangers of vaping.
As of today, experts have not identified a specific product or substance that is causing the illnesses. Over the past few weeks, DOH has sent alerts to Washington health care providers and asked them to report any patients who could have severe lung disease associated with vaping.