Government Affairs: Continued Concerns about E-cigarette Safety Drive State Action

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to investigate an outbreak of illness associated with e-cigarette use. As of Oct. 15, 2019, 1,479 lung injury cases have been reported from the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and every state except Alaska. There have been 33 confirmed deaths in 24 states. CDC continues to provide technical assistance to states as they work together on the investigation. The agency has also issued clinical guidance to help health care providers as they assess potential cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). 

The growing number of people falling ill and dying has spurred eight states to take executive action to limit or ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products. Montana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington instituted a 120-day ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Oregon’s ban will be in place for 180 days. In Utah, only tobacco specialty shops (which are regulated and inspected by local health departments) will be allowed to sell flavored e-cigarettes. These shops are required to post notices about the damages of vaping unregulated THC products. New York‘s ban on flavored cigarettes and vaping products has been delayed by a legal challenge. A judge also blocked an executive order in Michigan to ban e-cigarette use as well as both retail and online sales.

Several state legislatures, including Illinois,  Massachusetts, and Ohio, have introduced measures that would limit or ban e-cigarette sales.