Utah issues emergency rule amid vaping-related illnesses

This photo made available by the New York State Department of Health on Sept. 5, 2019 shows a few of the cannabis-containing vaping products which contained high levels of vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is a key focus of the department's investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses. (Mike Wren/New York State Department of Health via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah health officials have implemented an emergency rule Wednesday restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and requiring warnings about unregulated THC products amid an outbreak of lung illness related to vaping.

All tobacco sellers will be required to post notices about the danger of vaping unregulated THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana that’s been linked to most lung-damage cases in Utah.

The Utah Department of Health also said flavored nicotine e-cigarette products will be banned from general tobacco retailers, including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, to help keep them away from young people.

Many people who vape THC start with flavored nicotine, Joseph Miner, a director at the health department said.

Retailers will have until Monday to comply.

Utah has been hit especially hard in the national outbreak, Miner said.

Utah health officials have reported 71 lung-damage cases linked to vaping. Ten more potential cases are being investigated, the agency said.

The department said 94% of the people who became sick reported vaping THC products, the majority of which were purchased at vape shops or convenience stores in Utah.

At least 805 people across the country have become sick from vaping, and 13 people have died, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Over the summer, health officials in a few states began noticing reports of people developing severe breathing illnesses, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. The only common factor in the illnesses was that the patients had all recently vaped.

Symptoms of the disease include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Health officials throughout the country are advising people not to use any vaping product until the cause of the illnesses is better understood.

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