Gov. Charlie Baker Tuesday announced an immediate four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in the state. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders spoke with WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu about the ban, why the administration took this step, and what it hopes to accomplish in these four months. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: We've been talking about this issue for a couple of weeks now, and I wonder how you arrived at such an extreme measure — an outright ban — and why four months?

Sec. Marylou Sudders: What we have been seeing in Massachusetts and across the country is the rapid reporting of severe vaping-related lung diseases — more than 530 cases across the country. And as you know, on September 11, our commissioner of public health ordered the reporting of these cases to the Department of Public Health. Every day we get between five and 10 cases reported. So since 9/11, we've had more than 60 cases, and I'm talking about suspected severe vaping-related lung disease reported to the department. And on Monday of this week, we reported five cases to the Centers for Disease Control, our federal partners. So this has been on a very fast trajectory, and we felt we needed to take action. But because there's so much information but there's not clarity about what direction we need to take on a long-term basis, we felt we needed a four month pause so that we can work with our medical experts, schools and others to determine what our next course of action should be in the commonwealth.

Mathieu: Did the CDC suggest that the four-month period of time is what it needed to do its work?

Sudders: No, this was conversations we had internally in the administration, looking at what other states were doing. We felt four months was a sufficient pause button for us to gather more medical information, work with our legislative partners and determine what a comprehensive response should be in Massachusetts. The ban can be extended, or it could be terminated earlier if we feel we have enough information to act.

Mathieu: Secretary, the main criticism we're hearing is from people who say they'll just go back on cigarettes. That's got to be a concern of yours as a health professional?

Sudders: Well, of course we are concerned about individuals using cigarettes. So a of couple things — Massachusetts has a strong tobacco cessation product. We would encourage anyone who is contemplating cessation or going back to cigarettes to call our 1-800-QUIT-NOW helpline. It's 24/7 and includes up to eight weeks of nicotine replacement therapies. Yesterday, as part of the governor's declaration, the Department of Public Health also issued a standing order for nicotine replacement therapies at our pharmacies so that if you are thinking about quitting smoking you can go to the pharmacy and get your nicotine replacement therapies paid for by your insurance companies.

Mathieu: One of the dumb questions that people say is, 'Why not just ban the cigarettes? They are also known to kill people.'

Sudders: So one of the things about vaping, is that the ability to become addicted is very rapid. As we know, cigarette smoking takes years before someone would have pulmonary disease and other effects of smoking. But vaping is acute [and rapid] addiction, which is one of the reasons why we are hitting this pause, so that we can understand more fully.

Mathieu: And that goes for medical marijuana patients as well impacted here, Secretary, who don't want to smoke combustible marijuana in some cases, but that's what they're left with, correct?

Sudders: Well, there are many marijuana products. There's not just smoking, there are other marijuana remedies available to individuals on medical marijuana. But yes, this is a four-month immediate temporary ban on all vaping products: e-cigarettes and marijuana products.

Mathieu: Secretary, how will you implement this ban with retailers? Are notices going out this morning, and how will you enforce it?

Sudders: So yesterday, after the governor made the declaration and the Public Health Council ratified the declaration, the Department of Public Health [immediately] reached out to all the retailers in Massachusetts, as well as our local boards of health, about what the ban is and what immediate steps retailers need to engage in. It is through our local boards of health that we'll engage in the enforcement.

Mathieu: Do you worry about businesses having to close their doors because of this? You can't drive down the street without seeing a vape shop somewhere, it seems like these days.

Sudders: Obviously when you take a measure [like] a temporary ban, there will be impacted businesses. One of the reasons this is a four month ban — some people have said, 'Why not a six month ban?' — is for us to really quickly put together what our next steps are in order to alleviate the impact on small businesses as well as individuals who, as you said, utilize medical marijuana and want to go back to vaping, for example. So that is one of the reasons why this is a short ban. And our local boards of health now do our compliance checks around alcohol and tobacco use.

So we have a very strong infrastructure here, and for more information we have put up a website: It has clear instructions for retailers, schools, parents and for individuals around nicotine cessation programs.