BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Declaring a public health emergency in light of vape-related illnesses, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products in the Commonwealth.
The ban, which takes effect immediately and runs through January 25, 2020, prohibits the sale of nicotine, flavored, non-flavored, and marijuana vaping products.
Massachusetts is the first state to institute such a ban since the start of the nationwide outbreak.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Baker said he was concerned about the lung illnesses that have been cropping up across the country—including here in Massachusetts, where as of last night, 61 cases have been reported to the Department of Public Health.
"E-cigarette usage is exploding, and it's clear there's a very real danger to the population," Baker said. "This temporary ban will allow state government and medical providers the time they need to understand the dangers and respond accordingly."
Baker said he convened a panel of doctors and pediatric experts Friday to share what they've learned about vaping and young people.
"One of the experts said, I quote, 'We don't have time to wait, people are getting sick and the time to act is now.' I couldn't agree more," he said.
Baker said his administration is also committed to "increasing the availability of cessation resources and the capacity of the Massachusetts Smoker's Help Line."
Meanwhile, at a hearing in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported to health officials since last week.
Principal Deputy Director at the CDC Anne Schuchat said vaping products have changed a lot over the years, and that use has "probably increased" and youth should not use e-cigarettes.
"There's a fourth-generation of e-cigarette products that are out there that may perhaps be related in some way to this, but we don't know yet why this condition is occurring in this particular epidemic," Shuchat said.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reforms is looking at the outbreak of lung illnesses associated with using e-cigarette products. At least nine deaths are being blamed on lung illnesses linked to vaping.
(Photo: Getty Images/Martina Paraninfi)
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports