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Friday, Oct. 4, Gov. Kate Brown ordered a 180-day ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, effective immediately. Her action was expected: With two of the nation's 20 vaping deaths this year coming from Oregon, it makes sense to find out what the problem is before allowing flavored vaping products back on the market.

Two agencies, plus law enforcement, will be responsible for implementing and enforcing the ban. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees marijuana regulation in the state, will meet this week and is expected to come up with a rule covering the temporary ban of vaping products containing THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

The Oregon Health Authority, meanwhile, is responsible for regulating retail sales of tobacco and non-THC vaping products. With the help of retired Oregon State Police officers, the state this year inspected some 1,100 retailers out of a total of about 3,200.

The agencies also are supposed to ask the Legislature to require that all ingredients in vaping products be disclosed to consumers. The OLCC already requires that additives to THC vaping products be certified for purity.

Both agencies will also beef up warnings about the problems with vaping, and OHA will adopt rules requiring providers to report cases of lung injuries linked to vaping. Too, the agencies are expected to develop proposals for the Legislature that would make the ban on flavored vaping products permanent and increase regulatory oversight of vaping products.

They're also expected to begin a statewide education and prevention campaign about the dangers of vaping, and that's a good thing. While vaping is legally limited to those 21 and older in Oregon (the same age that it becomes legal to use conventional tobacco and marijuana products) at least one study found that nearly a quarter of 11th graders in the state had used e-cigarettes, which are included in the ban. Other studies show that for teens, vaping is a predecessor to smoking.

Brown was right to ban the flavored products. But at least until we know what's been responsible for the illnesses and deaths, it makes no sense to permanently outlaw a legal product.

— The Bend Bulletin



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