RICHLAND,Wash - A Richland vape shop is shocked by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's executive order to temporarily ban flavored vaping products and says vape shops shouldn't be held responsible for illnesses.
On Friday, Gov. Inslee announced a plan to address vaping related illnesses. He mentions the advertising tactics used by vape companies to appeal to children, specifically marketing flavored vape products.
He directed the state Board of Health to implement an emergency ban on flavored vaping products.
The ban would include all flavored vaping products and prohibit, including those that contain THC and nicotine.
The emergency ban won't take effect until after the Board of Health votes on Oct. 9. It will last 120 days but can be renewed if the board sees fit.
A federal ban of flavored vaping products was announced by the Trump administration. Other states have instituted temporary bans on the products including New York, Rhode Island and Michigan. Massachusetts issued a four-month ban on all vaping products.
The assistant manager at VapeHead Orgins USA in Richland, Jacob, said the conversation about vaping isn't being explained properly to the public.
"It's not all vape products," he said, "People will grab a vape cartridge that is supposed to be used for e-juice, but they are putting THC into them and that could be the reason people are getting sick. They aren't using them right."
On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data about THC and nicotine vaping products. According to the agency, or more than 500 patients who offered information on what substances they used, nearly 77% reported THC-containing products, while nearly 57% reported nicotine-containing products.
As of Tuesday, the CDC reported 805 confirmed and probable cases of lung illness related to e-cigarettes.
Jacob also says his shop does not market to children. Signs set up around the Richland location state that they do not sell to minors, nicotine is not for children and they I.D. everyone who walks in.
"Everything we sell and make is not targeted towards kids," he said, "If you are going to say we are going to stop the kids from getting it, I don't even understand how kids are getting it."
He says vape shops shouldn't be held accountable for children gaining access to vape products.
"I don't know where they are getting it, maybe from the parents or somewhere else," he said, "But they aren't getting it from a store. Their parents should be held accountable for giving it to them, not the vape shops."
Earlier this year, Gov. Inslee signed a bill adding a higher tax on vaping products. Funds raised will go toward cancer research and public health efforts to stopping smoking.
Some aping devices will be taxed 27 cents per milliliter of vaping solution. Other products will be taxed 9 cents per milliliter for solution.
The tax goes into effect in October.
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