VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) – Vapers rushed to stock up on flavored e-liquids Wednesday night, ahead of a looming ban to take effect in Washington state at midnight.
The Washington State Board of Health voted Wednesday afternoon to temporarily ban flavored cartridges for 120 days. It comes after Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order asking for the ban last month.
The health board said it issued the ruling as a response to what it calls a “youth vaping epidemic and the outbreak of vaping-associated lung injury.”
“These are our favorites right now,” said Parker Smith, holding up two of seven cartridges he bought at a special discount. “This much would last us about three and a half months.”
Several Vancouver businesses told FOX 12 they will stay open until midnight to sell as much of their products as they can.
Erupted Vapor CEO and co-owner Justin Rawlinson has been closely following the controversy surrounding vaping. He said the state is dealing with the issue wrongly and should instead be focusing on regulation and drawing inspiration from places like the United Kingdom, where there are restrictions on vaping products and ingredients.
“Why is it that we are trying to blame flavors and trying to collapse an industry, as opposed to actually trying to bring down youth vaping?” Rawlinson asked. “We believe all vape products should be sold in age-restricted establishments only, so no more gas stations, no more of that.”
Smith said he believes the government is overstepping its boundaries and will negatively impact people trying to improve their health.
“I’m really, really upset,” Smith said. “I went to Seattle today to speak my words and be a part of this because I feel like flavors have saved my life.”
Smith said he used to smoke cigarettes and feels like his fitness has improved since switching to vaping.
Rawlinson estimates 90 percent of more of his business is selling flavored vape products. Despite that, he hopes to keep the shop going.
“When the tough gets going, we just keep going,” Rawlinson said. “We’re not going to slow down.”
Gov. Inslee reacted to the temporary ban, saying it will help “save lives.”
Inslee has said he will ask the legislature to permanently ban the flavored liquids in the future.
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