Montana Governor Steve Bullock has ordered a temporary halt to the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in the state in response to the recent spate of serious lung illnesses reported across the U.S. The emergency rules take effect Oct. 22 and will last 120 days.
On Tuesday, health officials in Gallatin County identified Montana’s second confirmed case of vaping-related lung illness.
“We have an epidemic across the country of youth using these products. And in Montana, our numbers are even higher than the national average,” said Greg Holzman, medical officer with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
According to a 2019 survey of high schoolers, the number of Montana students who say they use e-cigarettes or vapor products frequently has tripled in the last two years.
According to new data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5 percent in 2019 compared with 11.7 percent in 2017 and 20.8 percent in 2018. Altogether, 5 million middle school students and high school students now use e-cigarettes.
Ninety-seven percent of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month and 70 percent cite flavors as the reason for their use.