Emergency rule to restrict sales of flavored vaping products, require warnings at Utah businesses

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Regulators have enacted an emergency rule that will allow flavored e-cigarette products to be sold only at certain stores.

The rule also will require stores that sell e-cigarette products to post notices about the dangers of vaping unregulated THC products, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Health.

Only stores categorized as “retail tobacco specialty businesses” will be able to sell flavored e-cigarette and vaping products, according to the release. Those stores are characterized as age-restricted stores that primarily sell tobacco and e-cigarette products, the release states.

All other stores that sell tobacco products, known as “general tobacco retailers,” will no longer be allowed to sell flavored e-cigarette juices, according to the release.

Businesses will have until October 7 to comply with the rule, and it will stay in effect for 120 days, the release said. Health department officials will be working to put a permanent rule in place in the meantime, according to the release.

“Moving these products to age-restricted specialty shops will restrict young people’s access to them and can reduce the number of users who eventually move on to vaping THC,” UDOH Executive Director Dr. Joseph Miner said in the release.

Utah has seen an outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping and e-cigarette usage. There have been at least 71 cases of such illnesses in the state as of this week, according to the Department of Health. Of those, 45 people have been hospitalized and 26 spent time in an intensive care unit, according to the department of health.

The vast majority — 94% — of people affected in those cases reported they were vaping THC, according to the health department.

Another 10 cases are under review as possibly vaping-related, the agency said.

More information about the ongoing investigation is available at health.utah.gov/lung-disease-investigation.

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