A Washington state representative plans to sponsor legislation next session that aims to ban flavored vaping products.
Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, called it an "emergency" and said both lawmakers and state health officials are figuring out what options are available after hundreds of people across the country have been diagnosed with vaping-related illnesses.
“We know there are toxic substances in these products, and they are mostly associated with flavors, and we need to ban them,” said Pollet.
There have been six cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping in Washington state, with the most recent case being in Snohomish County.
Pollet's legislation would also require a list of ingredients in vaping products.
Pollet, a clinical instructor at the University of Washington School of Public Health, said the state of Washington is exploring all options, from legislation, emergency declarations, and even lawsuits to try and protect the public, especially young people.
“It's very sad we've been sounding the alarm that there are toxic chemicals that are going to harm lungs and cause serious illnesses for several years, and it's taking this bizarre outbreak with hundreds of people having a chemical pneumonia for people to realize this isn't just steam vapor,” he said.
Several other states have already taken action against vape products.
The governor of Massachusetts declared a public health emergency Tuesday and ordered a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products in the state, apparently the first action of its kind in the nation.
New York and Michigan both banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes last week, which prompted the American Vaping Association to push back, claiming that banning flavors "could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes.”