MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — State Senator Bob Beach is calling for Gov. Jim Justice to declare a public health emergency to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
In a letter to Justice, Beach cited the recent overdose of two Morgantown teens on chemical-laced vape cartridges.
Beach said he wants to start the conversation about ending Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
“The entire intent of my letter is to just bring awareness,” Beach said. “I do not expect the governor to take action on it, but I do expect it to create conversations, strong conversations in our neighborhoods.”
In response to those overdoses, police have arrested one juvenile and confiscated about 100 vape cartridges.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration have launched multi-state investigations into outbreaks of severe lung disease believed to be caused by the use of vape products. The West Virginia State Health Officer has also issued a written warning about potential abuse effects of the devices.
Pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping are on the rise in the state. According to the state DHHR, there have now been eight cases associated with vaping. State Chief Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp released a health alert Wednesday.
“In the state of West Virginia what we’re facing is the fact that we don’t really have a regulated industry in regards to vaping,” Beach said,” I think we’ll definitely see some legislation come out of the senate side, probably out of my party to address vaping in the future.”
Senator Beach is asking the governor to align West Virginia with a future federal policy that would ban flavored e-cigarettes and menthol-flavored products.