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Temporary ban on flavored vaping products approved in Washington

The votes are in. Washington’s State Board of Health passed a ban on all flavored vaping products Wednesday afternoon, despite members of the crowd reportedly testifying that they would harm themselves if the state implemented the ban.

Teen vape habits are easy to hide

“The idea that I heard from several of you that if there was a ban on flavors you would choose to harm yourself, I have a hard time understanding that,” said Keith Grellner, chair of the Washington State Board of Health. “And I plead with you, don’t harm yourself to make a point, because you are only harming yourself.”

The votes were unanimously in favor of the ban. The ban on flavored vaping products is temporary and will last 120 days. It goes into effect immediately after being filed, which could be as soon as Thursday. Governor Jay Inslee followed the vote with praise for the board.

“I am pleased the State Board of Health agrees we cannot wait to act on this very important public health issue,” Inslee said. “It comes down to protecting the health of Washingtonians, especially young people. These emergency rules will help protect public health and save lives.”

Inslee recently signed an executive order addressing the regulation of vaping products. He asked the board of health to look into a ban on flavored vaping products.

Hours of debate Wednesday included a tense back-and-forth between the crowd and the board, with members of the audience interrupting the proceedings, objecting to the ban.

“I beg you, give them 30 days to sell off the rest of their products, because right now these shops will be shut down…” a man shouted from the crowd.

“Sir, we have been respectful to you,” Grellner said while slamming the gavel. “And you continue to interrupt us. I don’t understand why you think that’s going to compel us to do anything different at this point.”

As Grellner asked for aye votes, each board member voted in favor. When he asked for nay votes, the crowd erupted with people crying “No!”

Vape industry: A growing epidemic with very little regulation

“The lack of self-regulation in this is very troubling to me,” Grellner said. “As I stated back in 2016 I heard all theses stories, the same stories. Since 2016, I have yet to see at the state or the national level, the vape industry come together and propose their own method of regulation. I hear people say you are asking for it. But if you really want to do it, there are legislators out there who would take up your cause.”

“And it means you are going to have to use this energy that you are venting at us to get support from your legislators,” he said. “Liquor and cannabis already did that with marijuana. And the marijuana industry came together, they built their own model, they worked with the state government. We have an example of how that worked. And I strongly urge the vape industry to do the same thing.”

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