Vapor and Public Health

Multiple federal, state and local agencies and their partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with the use or vaping of both regulated and illicit vapor products.

This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a single cause, but all reported cases have a history of using vapor products. Most patients with severe lung disease have reported a history of using vapor products containing THC. Some have reported the use of vapor products containing only nicotine. Youth vapor product use has increased significantly over the last several years, and research consistently shows that flavors contribute to the initiation of vapor product use among adolescents and young adults.

Ban on Flavored Vapor Products
On Sept. 27, 2019, Gov. Inslee issued Executive Order 19-03: Addressing the Vaping Use Public Health Crisis. The Order applies to both vapor products sold in licensed cannabis retail stores as well as tobacco and vapor licensees.

On October 9, 2019, the Washington State Board of Health took action on the Executive Order. It instituted emergency rules that direct immediate action by both cannabis licensees and vapor product licensees. The authority to implement was predicated on that action by the Board of Health. The Board of Health’s rules are available here.

Immediate Action Required
Effective Oct. 10, 2019, the sale of flavored vapor products is prohibited.  Flavored vapor products are defined in the Board of Health’s rules.

Please choose the appropriate link:

Not-Allowed and Allowed Under Emergency Rule
Per the State Board of Health’s emergency rule amending 246-80 WAC and the definition of “characterizing flavor” contained therein:

Not Allowed Allowed
Synthetic terpenes and terpenoids or other synthetic flavoring compounds Terpenes and terpenoid derived directly and solely from marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(y) , or hemp plants that have been grown and tested as required by state law
Botanically-derived terpenes, terpenoids or other botanically-derived flavoring compounds, except if directly derived and solely from marijuana plants tagged within the I-502 system or hemp plants  
Any other compounds that impart a “characterizing flavor” that is not specifically excluded    

Disposition of Product
Licensees have options for disposition of flavored vapor products.

  1. Seek to return product to manufacturer.
    • Cannabis licensees see WAC 314-55-077
  2. Remove the product from public view and store
  3. Dispose of product through approved channels
    • Cannabis licensees see WAC 314-55-097
    • Tobacco and Vapor licensees should follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Ecology in its publication entitled: Focus on: Disposal of Flavored Vaping Products
       

Documentation Needed for Destroyed Vapor Products
In order to claim a vapor product tax credit for destroyed products, the Department of Revenue will require businesses to obtain and preserve an affidavit signed by the person/business destroying the vapor product. The affidavit should contain the following information:

  • The name of the business providing the product for destruction
  • The quantity (mls) of product destroyed
  • Tax amount of the product destroyed
  • The date the product was destroyed

The Department of Revenue maintains a Vapor Tax page on its website. 

Enforcement
The Executive Order and emergency rules issued by the State Board of Health are intended to ensure the state act quickly to protect public health.

WAC 246-890-020 states: No person including, but not limited to, a person licensed under chapter 69.50 or 70.345 RCW, may sell, offer for sale, or possess with the intent to sell or offer for sale flavored vapor products or any product that he or she knows or reasonably should know will be used with or in a vapor product to create a flavored vapor product. The foregoing prohibition applies to the sale, offer for sale, or possession with intent to sell or offer for sale flavored vapor products at any location or by any means in this state including, but not limited to, by means of a telephonic or other method of voice transmission, the mail or any other delivery service, or the internet or other online service.

The Liquor and Cannabis board will be following up with licensees. Our goal is voluntary compliance. The penalty for non-compliance extends to potential license suspension.
 

Links to Required Documents

Cannabis Licensees Tobacco and Vapor Licensees
Emergency Rule Emergency Rule
Retail Warning Sign  Retail Warning Sign
Retail Warning Sign (Spanish) Retail Warning Sign (Spanish)
Form for Disclosing Ingredients (coming soon)  

Additional Information
For more information on this topic, please visit:

 

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