More Massachusetts vape shop owners are suing the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker over its four-month ban on vape products, calling the move unconstitutional.
Mass Dynamics, Boston Vapor and Vick’s Vape Shop filed a lawsuit Monday against Baker and Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel in a bid to end the ban, arguing that vape products have been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
The owners of Vick’s Vape Shop, Linda and Jeff Vick, closed the doors to their vape store in Medford last week when the temporary ban was put in place.
"Our immediate reaction was, 'what? You've got to be kidding me,'" Linda Vick said. "There's absolutely no proof that vaping has killed anyone."
The move comes days after the owner of a chain of North Shore-based vaping stores filed a similar lawsuit, saying the move was necessary to keep his business afloat.
Baker announced the ban last week amid growing national concern about the safety of vaping, with an as-yet-unexplained vaping-related lung disease causing several deaths and hundreds of illnesses nationwide.
"We as a commonwealth need to pause sales in order for our medical experts to collect more information about what is driving these life-threatening vaping-related illnesses," Baker said. "We also need to better understand the inherent dangers of vaping both nicotine and marijuana."
The store owners in Monday's lawsuit are seeking to get the vaping decision overturned.
"So we're talking about some basic constitutional violations, including due process. It was issued in an arbitrary and capricious manner. It was done without giving anyone any notice," attorney Craig Rourke said.
Another plaintiff, Behram Agha, owns four vape stores and employees 11 people at The Vapor Zone. All of the employees are now out of work because of the governor's actions.
"It might be a temporary ban. But it's a death sentence for us," Agha said.
The store owners hope to get before a federal judge within the next week or so.
"I just don’t understand why we’re being singled out," Linda Vick said.