Photo of a vaping device that can be used for nicotine or cannabis from reader Kylee Rayne Reichow
OREGON – In the wake of at least eight illnesses and two deaths statewide that the Oregon Health Authority says is linked to vaping, Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order Friday, October 4, directing state agencies to ban flavored vaping products.
The cases in Oregon are among at least 1,080 lung injury cases reported nationwide to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as of October 1.
In 15 states, 18 total people have died, with Oregon leading the pack, along with Kansas and California, all of which have reported two deaths from fatal lung injury cases.
According to state officials, all the confirmed cases in Oregon have been tied to vape products using THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. THC use is also a unifying factor for most cases nationwide, according to the CDC.
The order issued by Gov. Brown, Executive Order 19-09, calls for, among other things, a 180 day ban on flavored vaping products, effective as soon as the agencies noted in the order — the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and OHA — develop emergency rules to halt sales of flavored vaping products.
“My first priority is to safeguard the health of all Oregonians,” said Brown in a press release issued by the governor’s office. “By keeping potentially unsafe products off of store shelves and out of the hands of Oregon’s children and youth, we prevent exposing more people to potentially dangerous chemical compounds, and help lessen the chance of further tragedy for any other Oregon family.
The full impact of the vaping ban remains to be seen on Oregon’s cannabis industry. As reported by Willamette Week, the ban could have devastating impacts on cannabis farms — including more than two dozen cannabis operations in rural western Washington County — throughout the state.
In addition to a ban, the executive order calls for legislative proposals to be developed that could potentially ban flavored vaping products, permanently. The order also creates a group called the “Vaping Public Health Workgroup” comprised of government officials, health professionals, and industry members. It also calls for the following:
• Consumer warnings about the dangers of vaping
• Ingredient disclosure for vaping products
• Testing of vaping products to determine product safety
• Improving health care provider reporting of vaping-related lung injuries to OHA
• Increasing access to FDA-approved cessation services and methods
• Establishing a statewide prevention and education campaign aimed at discouraging the use of vaping products
According to the CDC, much remains unknown about the lung illnesses the agency has tied to vaping.
“The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time,” the agency stated in a list of what the agency knows, is doing, and doesn’t know about vaping-related illnesses.