as anyone caught bringing untaxed eLiquids or even just possessing a vaporizer while entering the state could face hefty fines and seizure of their property. These new penalties are a part of "groundbreaking" legislation approved last Wednesday by the state House of Representatives.
"Nobody should have their car taken away by the police for buying flavored vaping products to quit smoking," said Gregory Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association. "This is what happens when legislators rush to pass knee-jerk laws." he added, correctly reflecting upon the poor drafting in concept and the reality of this legislation.
The bill as you may now know infamously outlaws flavored vapes, including surprisingly menthol and mint-flavored cigarettes; limits the nicotine content of legal but unflavored vape pods; and imposes a 75% excise tax on the wholesale price of vapes and eLiquids. People in the vape world and people who don't even care about vaping have put the legislation on blast as blatant government overreach and warned that it will drive people to buy products on the black market or simply in other states.
In order to make sure politics is being injected into this even though the public health should be a non-partisan issue, representative Lenny Mirra, said the harsh penalties are "one of the many reasons" he and 30 other lawmakers, mostly Republicans, voted against the proposal. He added; "I think it's patently unfair" continuing; "People are not going to stop vaping or smoking menthol cigarettes just because we banned it."
Under the new penalties anyone caught bringing untaxed vaping products into the state could be fined $5,000 for a first offense and up to $25,000 for multiple violations. The provisions allow police to seize the vaping products as well as personal property including motor vehicles, boats, or even airplanes so long as they are "in which the electronic nicotine delivery systems are transported."
To be fair to this janky piece of legislation the sanctions for illegal importation of other things like alcohol are equally stringent, but I'm sure that's no relief to anybody, including bootleggers and rum runners. According to the way it is written, anyone caught bringing even a small amount of untaxed vape products into the state could be punished according to the provisions of the bill.
Lawmakers had considered an amendment to the bill to assess anyone under 21 a $100 fine per violation for getting caught with now prohibited items, but that particular measure failed.
Representative Linda Campbell who voted for the measure said penalties for violating the new rules have to be tough. "This is a major public health concern, so the law needs to have teeth," she said, ignorantly adding "The penalty has to be substantial to prevent black-market sales to our youth." because as we've seen in law abiding criminals, they will be too afraid to break additional laws when they are already breaking the law if the penalties are too rough. Oh wait that's never been the case, and has also never worked, my bad.
What do you think about this entire flavor ban in the state of Massachusetts? Does the flavor ban only make sense because the penalties are so harsh? Or are the penalties only adding salt to an already mortal to Massachusetts public health's wound? Will this serve as a good or bad example for other states to follow in the future?