From Tuesday, Sept. 24, Massachusetts banned all sales of vaping products for four months, with Gov. Charlie Baker declaring a public health emergency on the popular cigarette alternative as vaping-related illnesses and teenage use have surged.

Baker said that the ban includes all vaping-related products, regardless of flavor, ingredients, or whether they are purchased online or in stores. A state public health council approved of the ban on Tuesday afternoon.

“The use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products is exploding and we are seeing reports of serious lung illnesses, particularly in our young people,” Baker said at a news conference.

“I’m declaring this public health emergency because medical and disease control experts have been tracking a rapidly increasing number of vaping-related illnesses that in some cases have led to death,” the governor said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded, so far, 530 cases of severe lung illness after using vaping devices, but a congressional committee was informed on Tuesday by a top CDC official that the agency will be announcing more cases this week. As of now, nine deaths due to vaping have been reported, according to the New York Times.

Walmart also said last week it would stop selling e-cigarettes, The New York Times reported. Several key international markets that were part of e-cigarette behemoth Juul’s international expansion plans, including India, will be banning the technology.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, a top CDC official, said she expected an increase in the number of vaping-related cases when new data is released by the agency on Thursday.

“We are seeing more and more cases each day,” Schuchat said, adding that “hundreds” of new cases were expected to be named this week.

“We don’t know the cause,” Schuchat said. “No single product, brand, substance or additive has been linked to all cases. It’s very dynamic.”

Although no exact cause has been pinpointed and health officials have not named any specific company, brand, or device that led to the lung illnesses, so far hundreds have been hospitalized and many affected were placed in intensive care units.

A key ingredient named by health officials, THC, is said to be in vaping products used by many patients. Other patients reported using products that contain THC or nicotine, and some reported using both. THC is a chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, often through cannabis-infused oils that replaces e-liquids.

Baker said that the four-month period of the vape ban would allow medical experts more time to determine what aspect of e-cigarette smoking is causing the illnesses, as well as for the state to assess whether new regulations could allow for safer vaping products, according to NBS News.


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