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The state’s top public health official clarified Thursday that a four-month ban on the sale of vaping devices in Massachusetts does not apply to products that are delivered to other states.

Monica Bharel, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, wrote in an implementation order Thursday that vape retailers in Massachusetts can still sell their products online and over the phone, as long as the products will be delivered to a customer in a different state.

The stores cannot sell their vaping products in brick-and-mortar establishments or online to Massachusetts customers.

The aggressive ban on all vaping products was announced by Governor Charlie Baker last week and remains among the strongest vaping regulations in the country. It was issued in the wake of a string of vaping-related lung illnesses that have affected hundreds of people across the country and have killed at least a dozen. The order is effective through Jan. 25 and could be extended.

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Bharel’s order Thursday was issued to “ensure clarity for businesses subject to the Emergency Order and uniformity in enforcement,” she wrote. Thursday’s order also clarified that businesses can continue to display their vaping products online and advertise them in any way they’d like. Companies only need to remove the vaping products from their store shelves.

Though the clarification may bring some relief to vaping shops that predominantly sell vapes and accessories, it does little for cannabis businesses, which can’t transport marijuana over state lines. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.


Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.