SBOH - Board Meeting
(October 13, 2020)

Tuesday October 13, 2020 1:15 PM - 6:10 PM Observed

The SBOH Board Meetings provide a public forum for engagement with the State public health system.

The Washington State Board of Health has filed a CR-102, Proposed Rule for Chapter 246-80 WAC – Prohibition of Vitamin E Acetate (document attached). The Board is proposing to permanently adopt a rule prohibiting the sale of vapor products containing vitamin E acetate.

The Board has the authority under RCW 43.20.050(2)(f) to adopt rules for the prevention and control of infectious and noninfectious diseases. In order to respond to Governor Jay Inslee’s Executive Order 19-03, Addressing the Vaping Use Public Health Crisis, the Board adopted an initial emergency rulemaking order to prohibit the inclusion of vitamin E acetate in vapor products and created WAC 246-80-021, a new section, at their meeting on November 18, 2019. It was in effect for 120 days. The Board subsequently adopted a second emergency rule to ban vitamin E acetate at their meeting in March 2020 and a third emergency rule at their meeting in June 2020. Data regarding lung injury have been updated, while the regulatory requirements in the new emergency rule mirror the first emergency rule. The third emergency rule is effective for 120 days. It was effective starting July 17 and will expire on November 14.

SBOH Announcement Email (Aug 25, 2020)

Engagement Options

Phone

Number: +1 (562) 247-8422
Access Code: 521-354-641

Observations

SBOH members heard two notable public comments on proposed rules to more permanently prohibit use of vitamin E acetate in all vapor products before voting to adopt the rules as final.

  • During the introduction of the rulemaking project, SBOH Policy Advisor Samantha Pskowski noted that 27 cases of vapor associated lung injury (VALI) had been identified in the state of Washington since the health scare began (audio - 4m).
  • The first public comment was offered by Shaun D’Sylva of the Washington Smoke-Free Association representing the non-THC vapor products industry. He took "umbrage" at the way non-THC vapor products were regarded together with THC vapor products in this rulemaking and provided cogent explanations as to why vitamin E acetate, an oil-based diluent, would not used as a thinning agent in water soluble nicotine vaping liquids (audio - 4m).
  • Washington State Representative Gerry Pollet dialed in to share his perspective that "many public health professionals applaud the ban" but "feel very strongly that this ban may not go far enough." He claimed to cite an article published in The Lancet in August, stating: "Other ingredients (terpenes, medium chain triglycerides) as well as vitamin E acetate, including diacetyl, and other chemical flavorings, heavy metals, or e-liquid thermal decomposition products might contribute to the development of EVALI." He concluded, “This is not the be all end all and that further work is needed to ban flavors that have serious potential for harming lung tissues, especially that in youth” (audio - 4m).
    • Cannabis Observer was able to identify one article in the August 22nd edition of The Lancet which states: "Most cases of EVALI reported in the literature have involved patients using e-cigarettes with THC or cannabidiol added to the vaping liquid, where vitamin E is thought to be important in causing the lung damage; however, concerns about the effects of the constituents of the flavourings have also been raised."
    • Cannabis Observer identified three articles in August editions of The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal which mention “EVALI” but did not pay to confirm Representative Pollet’s quotation.
  • Following the public hearing, the SBOH moved to adopt the rule language and directed staff to file a CR-103. The more permanent prohibition of vitamin E acetate in all vapor products goes into effect on November 14th (audio - 3m).

Information Set