PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - This week both the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be hammering out rules to enforce a temporary ban on the sale of flavored vaping products.

Governor Kate Brown called for the 180-day ban last week after two Oregonians died from a severe lung illness linked to vaping. Health officials confirmed eight other cases of vaping-related illnesses in Oregon.

There have been more than 1,000 cases across the country.

The OLCC expects to hold an emergency meeting as early as Wednesday to figure out new regulations, but it won't be easy.

"There's not a lot of research that's out there," said Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for OLCC.

Neither the state nor federal officials know exactly why people are getting sick from vaping products.

The CDC says most of those who've gotten sick used oils containing THC, but some appear to have gotten sick from the nicotine products.

As far as cannabis goes, it's still unclear what exactly should be included in the ban.

Researchers don't yet know what elements of the vaping products that include THC may be causing so many people to get seriously ill and even die.

"We will be looking at products that go beyond pure THC oil, products that include flavors," said Pettinger.

The state's legal recreational marijuana stores will certainly be affected by the ban, but again it's only vaping products, not other products such as edibles.

However, it's the tobacco stores that will likely suffer more financially, because there are shops where vaping is virtually all they do.

According to the Multnomah County Health Department, there are 20 vape shops in the county.

"Eighty percent of my business, if not 90 percent of my business is flavored e-liquid, so if I can't sell flavored e-liquid it's going to be hard to maintain any sort of business where I can actually pay my bills," Marcus Nettles, owner of Rose City Vapors, told FOX 12.

It will be up to the Oregon Health Authority not the OLCC to make the rules for these tobacco businesses. The health authority does not license tobacco shops the way OLCC licenses pot shops.

The OLCC says it will be ready to go as soon as it votes on the emergency ban. It already has roughly two dozen inspectors at its disposal to work with marijuana retailers.

It will be up to the individual counties in Oregon to enforce the vaping rules when it comes to tobacco.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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