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October 9, 2019

Montana’s Governor Jumps on the Flavor Ban-wagon

Steve Bullock of Montana became the seventh governor to institute a ban on flavored vaping products by executive action. Like all the others, Bullock’s ban is temporary, beginning on Oct. 22 and lasting for 120 days.

“Young Montanans are using e-cigarettes at an alarming rate, while officials investigate the possible causes of a national outbreak of e-cigarette-related injury and death, leaving us at a crossroads,” Bullock said in a press release. “Today, I choose action.”

Unlike other governors that supposedly predicated their executive orders on studies done by state health departments, Bullock just gave the order to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) out of the blue. He “chose action.”

According to the governor’s office, the vape ban includes “all flavored e-cigarette products, including flavored nicotine, THC, and CBD vaping products, in-store and online.” There is no mention of whether zero-nicotine e-liquid is also banned.

The state says the ban will “seek to curb e-cigarette use while authorities investigate what product or chemical is causing critical illness across the country and develop an evidence-based response.” Montana has two confirmed cases of lung injuries associated with vaping.

Among the more than 1,000 cases identified across the country, none have been positively connected to nicotine vaping, and in every case in which a specific product has been identified, it has been a black market THC oil cartridge.

Aside from being governor of the eighth smallest state by population, Bullock is also a Democratic candidate for President. However, things aren’t looking good. The next Democratic debate is on Oct. 15, and Bullock didn’t make the cut for the 12-candidate slugfest. He’s not looking likely to qualify for the November debate either.

The problem for Bullock is visibility and name recognition. No one knows who he is, and there’s not much he can do about it in Montana. Since his bid for the nomination is going approximately nowhere, he’s hoping a well-publicized leap onto the vape ban-wagon will help energize his campaign. It won’t, but he’s willing to try anything at this point.

The five other states that have banned flavored vaping products are Michigan, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker banned all vaping products, not just flavored ones. The Trump administration has also announced it’s planning a federal ban of flavored products.

Photo source: Michael F. Hiatt / Shutterstock.com

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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