Massachusetts Vaping Ban Can Remain in Place, Judge Rules - NECN
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Massachusetts Vaping Ban Can Remain in Place, Judge Rules

The Vapor Technology Association and local vape store owners claimed the ban is causing irreparable damage to their businesses and will destroy a $331 million industry in Massachusetts

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    Judge Upholds Temporary Ban on Vaping Sales in Mass.

    A Massachusetts judge ruled Monday that Gov. Charlie Baker's temporary 4-month ban on the sales of vape-related products can remain in place.

    (Published Monday, Oct. 21, 2019)

    A Massachusetts judge ruled Monday that Gov. Charlie Baker's emergency 4-month ban on the sales of vape-related products can remain in place.

    But the 32-page order from Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins also puts the state on notice that it must rework the ban and submit it as a formal emergency regulation by next week or else nicotine vape sales can continue.

    "We always said that we knew the courts were probably going to be part of this process but for us, the public health issues associated with this outweighed the negative consequences," Baker said Monday.

    The Vapor Technology Association and local vape store owners had filed suit, saying the ban is causing irreparable damage to their businesses and will destroy a $331 million industry in Massachusetts.

    "For us, I think that this is a great victory," said attorney Craig Rourke, who represents the six vape shop owners contesting the ban.

    Behram Agha, who owns four vape shops, said he's hopeful that Monday's ruling will lead to a ban that is less broad so he can start selling again.

    "We are losing a lot of money," he said. "One of my shops is permanently closed."

    Baker brought the ban and declared a state of emergency after 10 probable or confirmed cases of lung illness caused by vaping products were reported to the state.

    "We always said we knew the courts were going to be a part of this process, but for us the public health issues associated with this outweighed the negative consequences," Baker said after Monday's ruling.

    Boston University professor Michael Siegel testified in opposition to the ban in Suffolk Superior Court on Friday, saying there isn't enough evidence to support it. But the state argued that more than 150 suspected vaping-related illneses in the state are enough. The state also confirmed its first death from a vaping-associated lung injury earlier this month.

    Vaping-related illnesses are a national epidemic, with 33 deaths confirmed in 24 states as of last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Most people who've become sick have used products that contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijauna, but because investigators haven't come up with the specific cause or causes behind what's making people sick, they have urgd people to stop using all e-cigarettes. Read more about the outbreak from the CDC.

    While other states had taken emergency measures to counter vaping in the weeks before Massachusetts did, none went as far as Baker's ban.

    NBC10 Boston's Asher Klein contributed to this report.

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