WASHINGTON

 

TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 101: WASHINGTON

January 16, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Washington’s vaping industry provided more than $483 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 1,995 direct vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Washington exceeded $11 million in 2016.

  • As of January 15, 2020, WSDH has reported 23 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses, with nine patients reporting having used a THC-containing vapor product. WSDH earns an A for its reporting on vaping-related lung illnesses.

  • In 2018, only 5.2 percent of Washington 10th and 12th graders reported daily e-cigarette use. More data is needed.   

  • Only 3 percent of FDA retail compliance checks in Washington resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

  • Washington spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Washington dedicated only $1.5 million on tobacco control, or less than 1 percent of what the state received in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.

GOV. INSLEES’ PROPOSED FLAVOR BAN WILL VAPORIZE TOBACCO HARM REDCUTION IN WASHINGTON STATE

October 10, 2019
  • On September 27, 2019, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order requesting the State Board of Health to use its emergency rulemaking authority to impose a ban on all flavored vapor products, including flavored [tetrahydrocannabinol] THC vapor products.”

  • On October 9, 2019, the Washington State Department of Health passed an emergency rule banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The rule takes effect October 10, 2019 “and lasts for 120 days.”

  • The Heartland Institute analyzed results from the 2017-18 California Youth Tobacco Survey (CYTS) and found that despite flavor restrictions in some localities, youth use of e-cigarettes in those areas increased after the bans went into place.

    • Santa Clara County, California, banned flavored tobacco product sales to age-restricted stores in 2014. Despite this, youth e-cigarette use increased while the ban was in effect. For example, in the 2015-16 CYTS, 7.5 percent of Santa Clara high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes. In the 2017-18 CYTS, this increased to 10.7 percent.

  • A 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adult vapers found flavors play a vital role in the use of e-cigarettes. Indeed, 83.2 and 72.3 percent of survey respondents reported vaping fruit and dessert flavors, respectively, “at least some of the time.”

  • A September 2019 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency identified 805 possible cases of vaping-related lung injury and was able to gather data on 514 patients.

    • Of these 514 patients that self-reported, 395, or about 77 percent, “reported using THC-containing products.”

  • Since 2007, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices have been available on the U.S. market. Until recently, these products were not linked to any significant adverse health effects. The American Cancer Society noted in June 2019 that “e-cigarette use [is] significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes … because e-cigarettes do not contain or burn tobacco.”

  • Moreover, Inslee is worried about youth e-cigarette use, yet the Evergreen State dedicates very little funding on programs that could prevent such use. For example, Washington received an estimated $552.6 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in 2019, yet the state directed only $1.5 million (0.02 percent) of state funding on tobacco control programs, including education and prevention during the same period.

February 25, 2019
  • HB 1863 would expand the definition of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes and vaping devices and apply a 95 percent tax on such products.

  • E-cigarettes are a safe alternative to combustible cigarettes that numerous public health groups find to be significantly less harmful, including Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the American Cancer Society.

  • Studies estimate e-cigarettes can reduce health care costs. One study found that if all Medicaid recipients that smoked switched to e-cigarettes, savings to Medicaid would have amount to $48 billion in 2012.

  • Proposed vaping taxes have already negatively impacted Washington’s economy. In 2015, Mt. Baker Vapor, a vaping manufacturer, relocated from Washington to Arizona because of legislation including banning online sales and the imposition of “enormous taxes on the sale of vapor products.

  • Washington uses very little money from tobacco settlement payments and taxes to fund tobacco prevention efforts. In 2018, the state received $563.0 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes and only spent $1.4 million in state funds on tobacco education and cessation programs.

WASHINGTON E-CIGARETTE TAX WILL VAPORIZE HARM REDUCTION

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©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.