Washington bans vaping products with vitamin E acetate, a chemical linked to surge in lung injuries in US
The state has asked e-cigarette manufacturers to disclose the ingredients used in their products.
The Washington state has banned the sale and distribution of vaping products containing vitamin E acetate, a compound that may be behind the outbreak of vaping-related illness that has gripped the nation, affecting more than 2,000 people nationwide.
Following Washington, New York City has also banned ban flavored e-cigarettes despite resistance from the industry. Earlier last month, a New York court had temporarily halted a state ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
The ban, which came into effect on Wednesday, comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented evidence on the possible role of vitamin E acetate in the lung injury outbreak that has killed 47 people so far. The Washington State Board of Health made its decision after looking at a presentation on the recent severe lung injury findings from the Department of Health.
Earlier, health officials adopted an emergency rule banning the sale of flavored vapor products. The rule was extended to include vitamin E acetate, after witnessing 16 confirmed cases since April in Washington. Further, the state has asked e-cigarette manufacturers to disclose the ingredients used in their products, including solvents, additives, preservatives, thickening agents, terpenes and other substances used to produce or added to marijuana concentrates for inhalation, before December 1, 2019. So far, no manufacturers have reported using vitamin E acetate in their products, according to the officials.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has also called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices that don't meet US Food and Drug Administration approval as tobacco cessation tools.
The AMA is concerned about the popularity of these products among teens. Reports say 5 million children and teens are currently using vaping products. "1 in 4 high school students are vaping, and the number of teens who vape more than doubled in 2 years. The vaping industry attracts kids with appealing candy, fruit, mint and menthol flavors. Big Vape must #QuitLying," the AMA tweeted on November 18.
Other states are also ramping up their efforts to address the crisis. Ohio and Colorado have also banned vaping products containing vitamin E acetate in some form. Lawmakers from Massachusetts have recently passed a bill to ban flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes to enact the country’s most stringent state ban on these products in an effort to combat youth tobacco use.
The FDA is "committed to doing everything we can to prevent kids from using tobacco products and will continue to develop a policy approach that aligns with that concern", Stephanie Caccomo, an FDA press officer, told CBS news.
As states and health agencies decide on the fate of vaping and tobacco products, the CDC is investigating the outbreaks. So far, the CDC has discovered vitamin E acetate in the lung samples from 29 people from 10 states who were sick. Evidence also indicates that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana could be the culprit. The CDC has issued a warning asking people to stay away from vaping products that include THC, especially if not bought in a store.