Health care

Massachusetts tees up sweeping flavored tobacco and vape ban

 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has expressed interest in vaping regulation. Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

Massachusetts lawmakers passed the toughest ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products in the country on Thursday, proposing a 75% excise tax on vaping products and requiring the state's Medicaid program to cover tobacco cessation counseling, AP reports.

The big picture: Massachusetts now awaits Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision whether to sign the bill. Several states introduced bans and filed lawsuits to address the high rate of lung injuries and dozens of deaths due to vaping. A nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarette products, which was ready to be rolled out by the Trump administration, has been stalled, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeper: American Medical Association calls for ban on vaping products

More than 2,200 people report mysterious vaping illness

EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 2,290 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury in 49 states, and 47 deaths associated with e-cigarette use as of Nov. 20, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

The big picture: Some progress has been made in uncovering a correlation between vaping and the respiratory illnesses. Federal health officials have found vitamin E acetate in the lung fluids of 29 patients diagnosed with the vaping-related illness.