SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon’s governor ordered a temporary ban Friday on the sale of flavored vaping products amid an outbreak that has sickened more than 1,000 people nationwide -- and killed two in Oregon.
Several other states, including Washington, New York, Michigan and Rhode Island, have also imposed temporary bans.
The illnesses first appeared in March, with symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredient that causes a high, but some said they vaped only nicotine.
Gov. Kate Brown’s order imposes a 180-day ban on all flavored vaping products and on the sale of other sources or additives as they are identified in cases of vaping-related lung injuries or deaths.
“The safest option for Oregonians right now is to not use vaping products of any kind. Until we know more about what is causing this illness, please, do not vape,” Brown said.
The Oregon Health Authority had asked Brown for a six-month ban on sale and display of all vaping products, including tobacco, nicotine and cannabis. The agency also urged Oregonians to stop using all vaping products until federal and state officials have determined the cause of the illnesses.
Local vape shop owners say this move will devastate their business. Annie Roes owns Urban Vapors in Eugene, and she said that this will cost people their livelihoods.
"We will not survive this ban," she said. "It's not just about just our employee's loss of livelihood I am appalled about, it's the thousands of people, including my 70-year-old parents, that will be forced back into smoking."
The Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association said it was very grateful the governor did not implement a complete ban on cannabis vaping products, like Massachusetts did. The group told its members that technical questions and issues need to be worked out and that it will try to “ensure the government acts responsibly and makes evidenced-based decisions that do not needlessly harm the legal cannabis industry.”
Brown also called on state agencies to develop plans within 90 days for consumer warnings, product testing and disclosure of the ingredients of vaping products. Brown also directed state agencies to develop proposals for long-term solutions for consideration by the Legislature, which convenes early next year.
Long time vapers say that this will easily make people just switch back to cogarettes, defeating the entire point.
State Rep. Cheri Helt, a Republican from Bend, said she’ll seek bipartisan legislation to address the dangers of vaping, including bans if necessary.
In Oregon, eight cases have been reported, two of which resulted in death.
Brown said federal action “is long overdue to address this national public health crisis.”
President Donald Trump has said he plans to ban flavored vaping products nationally.
The Oregon Health Authority released a statement saying this order is an evidence based strategy to prevent youth as well as adults from being exposed to the health risks from vaping products and from becoming addicted to nicotine.
It also said they will be working closely with the OLCC and Oregon Department of Justice to critically consider next steps.