Inslee’s anti-vaping bill fails to pass congress; temporary flavor ban ends today

The temporary flavor ban on vaping products in Washington State ends on Friday, just days after the congress failed to pass legislation intended to make the emergency action permanent.  In early October 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order implementing the four-month ban due to growing concerns over the then-emerging outbreak of “vaping related” lung injuries. 

The public hysteria was swift but eventually began to settle once the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally acknowledged just last month the true culprit behind the mysterious ailment.  THC-based vapor products laced with a thickening agent – vitamin E acetate – were responsible for nearly 90 percent of all EVALI diagnoses. 

Inslee's vaping ban goes up in smoke

The official word first appeared in a mid-December press release by the CDC which openly admitted that its original warning strongly implying that nicotine-based vapes were to blame for the peculiar respiratory disorder were grossly inaccurate at best.  CDC officials further acknowledged that none of the more than 2,000 EVALI patients’ medical conditions could be directly attributed to the vaping of nicotine-based vapor products at all. 

By January 14, the public health agency was forced to issue a sharply worded tweet reversing its original public warning. It reads, “CDC recommends that you should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources. Data suggest these products play a major role in the current lung injury outbreak. Learn more: http://cdc.gov/lunginjury.”  The included link references newly released internal research which identifies informal sources as “friends, family, or in-person or online dealers.”

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Yet despite these urgent yet slightly unorganized attempts to correct the public record, the revised CDC warnings had little to no effect on Governor Inslee’s decision to enact a permeant flavor ban statewide. By February 4, the Washington State Department of Health published new data of its own recognizing that only 25 cases of EVALI were recorded statewide.  Furthermore, in each diagnosis, the patients admitted to using THC-containing products. 

  • 5 cases among patients ages 10 to 19 years
  • 7 cases among patients ages 20-29 years
  • 7 cases among patients ages 30-39 years
  • 3 cases among patients ages 40 - 49 years
  • 3 cases among patients ages 40 70 to 79 years

The failure of Washington State Senate Bill (SB) 6254 to gain congressional acceptance seems to be at least partially linked to the release of this new information by both the DOH and the CDC. And according to News Talk 870AM radio of Pasco, Inslee may be finally getting the message. “Inslee, according to sources, does not plan to persuade legislators to pursue a ban, and flavored vape products could be back in stores by this weekend.

Related Article:   As Azar hits at ’streamlined’ PMTA, federal flavor ban goes into effect tomorrow

(Image courtesy of PBS.com)

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