HELENA — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock directed the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to implement rules temporarily prohibiting the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products Tuesday.
The emergency rules will take effect Oct. 22 and last for 120 days, according to a press release from Bullock’s office. Two cases of illness related to e-cigarette use were recently confirmed in Montana.
The ban includes the sale of products sold in-store and online but does not require retailers to eliminate existing inventory. More than half of the 1,080 confirmed cases of vaping-related illness involve patients younger than 25, the release said.
“The ban on flavored e-cigarettes, which are widely marketed to and used by young people, 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,” the release said.
Kim Deti from the Wyoming Department of Health said two vaping-related illness cases have been reported in Wyoming and the WYDOH is advising the public to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We specifically are concerned about youth access and clearly do not recommend that youth smoke or use vaping devices or any other form of tobacco or nicotine-delivery products,” Deti said in an email to The Sheridan Press.
Deti said the WYDOH has advised health care providers to ask patients with severe respiratory illnesses that aren’t clearly explained about their vaping history.
WYDOH is not currently recommending any policy-related actions, though the outbreak and youth access to vaping products are “topics of interest and discussion among policymakers” at recent legislative meetings, Deti said.
Michael Pearlman with Gov. Mark Gordon’s office said Gordon has not yet considered taking similar action to the Montana governor.
“[Gordon] is monitoring the situation and will be coordinating with the Department of Health, on what, if any, additional steps should be taken to address vaping-related lung illness,” Pearlman said in an email to The Sheridan Press.