Montana to temporarily ban e-cigarette sales

Montana is placing a temporary ban on the sale of e-cigarette flavors in the wake of rising youth vaping addictions and a vaping-related lung disease linked to at least 18 deaths nationwide.

Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOvernight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Drug price hikes cost US billions, report finds | Blue Dog Dems call for more votes on drug pricing bills | STD rates hit record high in 2018 Montana to temporarily ban e-cigarette sales Trump trails Bullock in Montana but leads other top 2020 Democrats MORE (D), who is also a 2020 presidential candidate, said the ban will take effect Oct. 22, and will last for four months to give officials time to fully investigate the cause of the disease.

“Young Montanans are using e-cigarettes at an alarming rate, while officials investigate the possible causes of a national outbreak of e-cigarette-related injury and death, leaving us at a crossroads,” Bullock said in a statement. “Today, I choose action.”

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The ban includes the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products, including flavored nicotine, THC and CBD vaping products, in stores and online. The ban does not require retailers to destroy their existing inventory. 

At least 18 people have died and over 1,000 have been sickened by a mysterious disease linked to vaping, and two cases were recently confirmed in Montana. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention usually updates its numbers every Thursday.

Federal health officials have not been able to identify the cause of the illness, but most of the people with symptoms reported using vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. 

The ban will seek to curb e-cigarette use while authorities investigate what product or chemical is causing critical illness across the country and develop an evidence-based response, state officials said.

Many patients also reported getting their products illegally off the street or from friends and family.

Montana joins six other states who have taken similar action: Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts.

The Trump administration said last month it would remove most flavored e-cigarettes from the market until they can go through a regulatory review, but has yet to release specifics.

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