Vitamin E is banned, but that wont save Washingtons vape industry from a flavor ban.
Vitamin E is banned, but that won't save Washington's vape industry from a flavor ban. 60Kean/ Getty Images

Washington’s State Board of Health has banned all vape products made with Vitamin E acetate, the dangerous cutting agent linked to thousands of lung injuries and 40 deaths across the country. The ban comes after the state’s top pot regulator had previously instituted a voluntary ban of vitamin E. That ban in the pot industry is now mandatory.

More than 2,000 vape users have fallen seriously ill (in addition to those 40 deaths) from a mysterious lung disease since this last summer. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) released results two weeks ago of lung tests showing that every single person tested, including two people who had died, had vitamin E acetate in their lungs.

Vitamin E acetate is used as a cutting agent to make cheap, black market pot vape cartridges. It appears to be far more popular with pot vape pens than e-cigarette cartridges, although there isn’t any evidence that it was being used in Washington’s legal weed market. The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has not said if they have found it used in the legal market.

The news that the CDC has found the culprit of the vape crisis isn’t likely to deliver any good news for Washington’s e-cigarette industry.

Gov. Jay Inslee rushed to quickly ban popular flavored vaporizers in the midst of this lung crisis, when it was still unclear what was killing people. Inslee’s flavor ban remains effective through February, and the state legislature has indicated that they are likely to make the ban permanent when they reconvene in January.

The vape industry sued the state to trying to get the flavor ban overruled, but earlier this month a judge declined to stop the ban.

President Donald Trump indicated during the height of the crisis this summer that he wanted to pass a nationwide flavor ban, but he has since walked back that pledge after it appeared to be unpopular with his supporters.