Last Tuesday on Michigan’s ban on flavored nicotine vaping products, and last Wednesday on Oregon's flavored vaping ban for nicotine products. Both holds are until further notice of the court, and due to the nature of the bans in the way they were written to be temporary bans, assuming nothing else happens for four months it'll be like the bans were voided entirely.
In Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens granted an injunction requested by vape shop owners, who argue in a lawsuit that Governor Gretchen Whitmer overstepped her authority by banning flavored nicotine vaping products without the approval of state lawmakers.
In Oregon the hold comes in response to two separate lawsuits which were filed in reaction to the ban. One of which was filed by an attorney representing No Smoke Daddy LLC, which runs two vaping shops in Portland. The ruling here appears to affect only non-marijuana flavored vape products, like Juul e-cigarettes, and not the ban on flavored marijuana products
These judges decisions means the states can't enforce the ban, so vaping retailers can resume selling their nicotine products. The damage from the negative press has already been done however, with the majority of the shops in the two states already acting on plans as if the bans were inevitable. There are more than half a million vapers in the two states.
It will be interesting to see if there are further lawsuits put into play from the loss of business due to the irresponsible actions of the the states, as as substantial number of businesses have already closed in the two states. The public health detriment alone is incalculable, and the biased misinformation already put into the public relating to eLiquids and vaping could take years of education to undo.
There's also speculation the state could take further destructive action against vaping with even more broadly covering bans which would effect even more products beyond e-cigarettes, leading to a chaotic mess of consumer goods being not only unavailable but outright illegal. That all depends on how these two governments react to the the counter lawsuits that have no halted the bans.
One state that has been doing it right however surprisingly is Utah, as a new bill advancing in their legislature would let local health departments strip vape shops of their business licenses if they’re caught selling tobacco, vaping products, or paraphernalia to minors. Health departments could pull them if the shop sells a prohibited product only once during a compliance check.
Representative Karianne Lisonbee, who is sponsoring the bill, calls it a “zero-tolerance policy” that keeps illegal, addictive, and potentially dangerous products out of children’s hands while allowing adults to keep buying tobacco. “We do not want to affect access to adults. This is a free country. If you want to vape, we’re not going to restrict your access. But, if you are a minor, we have laws. We should enforce the laws,” Lisonbee told a committee hearing at the State Capitol last Wednesday.
The bill would also require all vape shops to get health department permits and be subject to continuous checks. Mark Waterson with the American Heart Association told lawmakers that the law could clamp down on the number of illegal vape shops in Utah that have been opening near homes and schools.
Since the beginning of October in Utah only tobacco specialty shops are allowed to sell flavored e-cigarettes, and all such products were pulled from convenience stores. Under these new rules, all tobacco retailers that sell e-cigarette products are required to post notices “regarding the dangers of vaping unregulated THC products,” according to the states public health department.
Juan Bravo, president of the Utah Vapor Business Association, said he supports that the health department is spreading the message about the harmful effects of unregulated THC products. But, he added, banning flavored products is “absolutely irresponsible.”
“There’s no correlation whatsoever with the THC cartridge injuries and the flavors whatsoever,” Bravo said. “This current rule could potentially put a lot of people out of business.” Other retailers may continue to sell non-flavored e-cigarette products, health officials said.
A few concessions which are more than fair have been made in the vape world, and a few victories against unjust governmental actions have been won in these latest battles in the war on vape, hopefully a positive sign of good things to come.
*UPDATE* Montana has now blocked it's ban as well.