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Jay Inslee
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Gov. Inslee announces ban on flavored vaping products statewide

Gov. Jay Inslee. (KIRO 7)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his intent to ban all flavored vaping products during a Friday press conference.

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Inslee was joined by both the health and cannabis board directors, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“Washington state needs bold action, and we need it now,” said Constantine.

Inslee cited the risk to children posed by vaping, specifically in how flavored products appeal to a younger demographic.

“This is an issue both about a dangerous product, and a problem with lifetime nicotine addiction that an industry is trying to hook our children on for life,” he said.

The governor will ask the state board of health to adopt emergency rules to approve the ban on flavored vaping products. The board will take up the measure for a vote on Oct. 9.

Inslee noted that he intended to take more stringent action, stating that he “wanted to go further than this,” but was limited by existing statutory authority.

In the next legislative session, Inslee will ask lawmakers to consider a handful of bills, including stricter regulations, restrictions on advertising for vaping products, disclosure of all ingredients by companies, and expanded educational campaigns.

“Today we are experiencing a very serious health crisis — it doesn’t have to be this way,” he said.

Speaking out in favor of the move was the Washington CannaBusiness Association.

“The top priority of regulated cannabis license-holders is to uphold all the safeguards in place to protect public safety,” said Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association. “That is why we fully support the urgency with which Governor Inslee, Washington’s Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are acting to identify any and all risks to consumer safety resulting from vaping-related illness.

Washington State has at least seven confirmed cases of vaping-related illnesses. Though many reported vaping THC — an ingredient in cannabis — state health officials say there is no common link between all these cases.

Oregon is also reporting its second death from vaping-related illnesses. The Oregon Health Authority reports the most recent case was a person who was hospitalized with respiratory problems after vaping cannabis products.

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This makes more than 13 deaths nationwide. In total, federal health officials have identified over 380 cases of vaping-related illnesses across 36 states and the Virgin Islands.

KIRO Radio staff contributed to this report

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