OLYMPIA – In October 2019, the State Board of Health passed emergency rules banning sales of flavored vapor products in Washington, followed by a vitamin E acetate emergency ban in November.
The emergency bans responded to Governor Jay Inslee’s issuance of Executive Order 19-03, Addressing the Vaping Use Public Health Crisis. The order was prompted by a national and state outbreak of vaping-associated lung injuries among people who reported using vapor products.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the national outbreak of vaping-associated lung injury has waned. The outbreak appears to be linked most closely to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing vaping products. Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the outbreak and has been found in tests of products and the lungs of impacted patients.
The State Board of Health emergency rule temporarily banning flavored vapor products remains in effect through February 7, 2020. On February 8, 2020, licensed vapor product retailers may legally sell flavored vapor products. The State Board of Health emergency rule temporarily banning vapor products with vitamin E acetate remains in effect until March 19, 2020, with the possibility of being extended.
The Washington State Legislature is now in session and is expected to consider a number of bills to enhance the regulation of vapor products, including Governor-requested legislation to ban vitamin E acetate and all flavorings, except tobacco flavoring, in non-THC vapor products.
The public and those who produce, process, distribute, and/or sell marijuana or nicotine vapor products are urged to follow the changes proposed during the state legislative session and to look for updates to rules and regulations governing these products.