Last September, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, urged the public health council to set in place a four month statewide ban on the sales of all vaping devices. “I’m officially declaring a public health emergency in the Commonwealth due to severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana-infused vaping products,” he said during a press conference.

In response to this, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Boston against Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA) and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, for damages being caused by the four-month ban on vape products and devices, including marijuana and nicotine.

A ruling by Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins in Boston, did not halt the ban, however, it did say that Baker had likely overreached his authority in issuing the order. The judge had added that unless the ban was amended it would be blocked, and it had been given until the 28th October to be reissued.

H4183 approved by a vote of 127 to 31

A police officer who “discovers an untaxed electronic nicotine delivery system in the possession of a person who is not a licensed or commissioner-authorized electronic nicotine delivery system distributor may seize both the product and the ‘receptacle’ in which it is found, “including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle, boat or airplane in which the electronic nicotine delivery systems are contained or transported.”

Subsequently the amended H4183 was approved by a vote of 127 to 31, and the state Senate is expected to consider it next week. The bill states that “a person who knowingly purchases or possesses an electronic nicotine delivery system not manufactured, purchased or imported by a licensed electronic nicotine delivery system distributor or licensed electronic nicotine delivery system retailer shall…be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first offense and not more than $25,000 for a second or subsequent offense.”

Besides a harsh 75% tax and a flavour ban, the bill will allow police to seize vehicles in which they find untaxed vaping products. A police officer who “discovers an untaxed electronic nicotine delivery system in the possession of a person who is not a licensed or commissioner-authorized electronic nicotine delivery system distributor may seize both the product and the ‘receptacle’ in which it is found, “including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle, boat or airplane in which the electronic nicotine delivery systems are contained or transported.”

MA e-cig ban is already leading to increased smoking rates

Meanwhile, in line with what many public health and anti-smoking experts had predicted, the ban is already proving counterproductive to public health.

Sales data released by Piper Jaffray compare the four weeks ending October 20th 2019, when the Massachusetts emergency ban went into effect, to the four weeks prior to the ban, and then compared the figures to the sales data of the same period last year. The analysis revealed that sadly, ex-smokers in Massachusetts who had switched to vaping in order to curb their habit, are now returning back to smoking.

Read Further: Reason

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