Trump's plan to curb teen vaping exempts some flavors

FILE- This Sept. 16, 2019 file photo shows flavored vaping solutions in a window display at a vape and smoke shop in New York. On Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it will prohibit fruit, candy, mint and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes that are popular with high school students. But menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes will be allowed to remain on the market. The flavor ban will also entirely exempt large, tank-based vaping devices, which are primarily sold in vape shops that cater to adult smokers. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

A second case of vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Yakima County.

The new patient is in his or her 70s. Washington state has had 22 cases since April, according to the state Department of Health.

The county identified another case in early December in which the patient was in his or her 20s.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reports 57 deaths related to vaping as of Jan. 7 — up from 48 at the time of the first Yakima County diagnosis last month. A total of 2,602 cases of vaping-related illness across the 50 states, D.C. and two U.S. territories have been recorded to date.

While patients age 18-24 are most prominent — and bans have focused on teen use — cases across the age spectrum have been reported.

The common factor among the patients is the use of e-cigarettes or vapor products. Vitamin E acetate has been recognized by the CDC as a chemical of concern, but the organization has not ruled out other factors.

“There’s still more research to be done, and there may be more than one cause,” a statement by the Yakima Health District said Tuesday.

In the same statement, Yakima County health officer Dr. Teresa Everson once again urged community members not to start or continue use of e-cigarettes and vapor products. She recommended those who do vape seek medical care as soon as health concerns arise.

In recent months, local health experts have reported that pneumonia cases have increased.

The state health board approved a 120-day renewable ban on all flavored vape products in October to combat the onslaught of illnesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee, who had proposed the ban, introduced a permanent ban to Legislature on Tuesday for all flavored vapor products, aside from tobacco flavor. The proposal would also limit the amount of nicotine in vapor products, require manufacturing licenses for businesses producing them, require the disclosure of ingredients to the Department of Health, and create new vapor product marketing limits.

At the start of January, the FDA announced a nationwide ban on the sale of fruit, candy, mint and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes. Flavor cartridges sold for large, tank-based vaping devices, as well as all menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, remain unaffected.

Reach Janelle Retka at jretka@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @janelleretka