SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Flavored vaping products are banned for 6 months in Oregon after both the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission put rules into place under Gov. Kate Brown’s October 4 executive order.
The ban will begin Tuesday, October 15 and stay in place until April 11, 2020. The ban prohibits the sale of all flavored vaping products to Oregon consumers, and includes a ban for online sales.
The products banned include “all tobacco and cannabis vaping products” that have natural or artificial flavors. However, neither flavored tobacco nor nicotine products are banned. Neither are marijuana-flavored pot or THC products that only use flavorings derived from marijuana.
This ban comes in response to the spate of vaping-associated lung injuries that have been reported nationwide, and targets flavored products specifically as a way to keep teens and young adults from vaping. In Oregon, 9 illnesses have been reported, including two deaths.
Of the 25% of Oregon high school students who exclusively use e-cigarettes, 90% use flavored e-cigs, OHA officials said.
“The reason they’re banned is they’re dangerous in terms of the MSDS sheet— the materials safety data sheet for the manufacturer says don’t inhale it,” said OLCC Chairman Paul Rosenbaum. “It’s a no-brainer for us. The most important thing we have is for the safety of the people in this state.”
“Initial recommendations that went back included a full ban, but on further discussion it was determined to remove the products most attrictive to new or naive users,” said Oregon Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger.
Businesses that sell vaping products in general will now be required to post signs warning of the health risks. The OHA said they will conduct undercover inspections to ensure retailers are not still selling flavored vape products. Retailers who flout these temporary rules will first get a warning letter. But continued violations could mean a civil penalty up to $500 per day for each violation, the OHA said. Retailers in violations could also lose their license.
Vape shop owners have shared their concerns with KOIN 6 News, saying the ban won’t stop people from vaping. Marcus Nettles, who has owned Rose City Vapors for 6 years, said it’s going to create a black market.
“You’re taking people out of places, out of safe places where we have regulated products ingredients on the bottles and you’re driving them to the black market,” Nettles said.
“We can’t stop the black market, we never could,” said Rosenbaum. “But we can make it safe for the people in this state to go into a legal store and get a product they can rely on.”
Retailers will begin to get calls from the state starting this weekend about the upcoming ban. After 6 months passes, the state will reevaluate, but could put a permanent ban in place.