The governor of Massachusetts declared a public health emergency Tuesday and ordered a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products in the state, apparently the first action of its kind in the nation.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s order was quickly approved by the state Public Health Council and applies to all vaping products and devices. The ban, though temporary, is broader than moves in at least two states, Michigan and New York, to ban only vape flavors. Baker said that as of Tuesday, 61 potential cases of lung disease related to the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping in Massachusetts had been reported to the state.
“We as a commonwealth need to pause sales in order for our medical experts to collect more information about what is driving these life-threatening vaping-related illnesses," said Baker. "We also need to better understand the inherent dangers of vaping both nicotine and marijuana. With all this information, we can then develop a set of targeted measures and response.”
That response, Baker said, could include legislation and regulations. Democratic Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday that his legislative chamber is committed to addressing vaping and tobacco use among children. The House is reviewing a bill that would ban the sale or distribution of any flavored tobacco or vape product to any consumer. The bill would carve out an exception for smoking bars.