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November 18, 2019

Mass. Vapers: Stop the Worst Vaping Law in the Country!

Massachusetts is on the verge of passing the most outrageous vaping law in the country, and the only thing that can stop it is immediate and overwhelming action by vapers. The bill has already passed the state house, and is headed for a vote in the Massachusetts Senate before senators leave for recess Wednesday.

There are actions Massachusetts vapers can take to fight back. CASAA has issued a call to action (below), making it simple for every resident to write their state senator. And a rally is being held in Boston on Tuesday, Nov. 19. But first, check out the details of this truly awful bill.

Massachusetts already has a temporary four-month ban on all vaping products, which is scheduled to end December 24. Bill H. 4183 doesn’t ban all vaping products—but it might as well. The bill contains these provisions:

  • Bans all flavored vaping products except tobacco flavor, including flavors in separate packaging that could be used to create “flavor shots” and DIY e-juice
  • Imposes a 75 percent wholesale tax on all vapor products, including e-liquid and hardware
  • Enacts a nicotine limit of 20 mg/mL on e-liquid
  • Makes consumers liable for paying the tax for all products they possess without receipts that prove the tax has been paid
  • Punishes possession of untaxed products with a fine up to $5,000 for the first offense, and $25,000 for any further offenses
  • And incredibly—in a throwback to crack-era drug war laws—police are authorized to seize any products you can’t prove were taxed, and also your car, boat or other vehicle! The vehicle can then be sold and the proceeds deposited in the state’s general fund

In other words, all vapers must carry receipts for the vaping products they use on their person at all times, or risk losing their cars. In fact, if you even give a ride to a friend carrying an “unauthorized” vape, your car could also be seized and sold.

“Under this bill, unapproved vaping products would be treated like illegal drugs, possession of which is enough to justify forfeiture of the vehicles in which they are found,” Jacob Sullum wrote in Reason. “Massachusetts is poised to deprive vapers of the harm-reducing products they used to quit smoking, then steal their cars if they dare to defy that unjust and irrational edict.”

If you think it can’t get any worse, think again. According to Dr. Michael Siegel, a Boston University public health professor, the law may make possession of any e-liquid that is purchased before the law goes into effect illegal. Because the seller you buy from currently is not a licensed retailer and no tax has been paid to the state, your existing products could be considered illegal after the law takes effect.

The bill also bans menthol cigarettes, which will make Massachusetts home to two thriving black markets. Menthol cigarettes are especially favored by African-American smokers, which means that the organized crime and police activity that will surround trade in the newly criminalized product will focus on the same black neighborhoods that have already suffered through decades of unjust drug war punishment.

It’s crucial to have a big turnout at the Boston vape rally on Tuesday, Nov. 19, which is being jointly organized by the New England Vapor Technology Association (NEVTA) and the United Vapers Alliance (which organized the Washington D.C. rally). Protestors are gathering at the Boston Public Garden at 1:00 p.m.

After the success of the Washington rally, politicians are more aware than ever of grassroots vaping activists. A huge turnout in Boston can help cement our reputation as a real political force, and possibly help convince the Massachusetts Senate to reconsider the potential consequences of this awful bill. Please be there if you can.

Even more important is the call to action (link below). Massachusetts residents who oppose H. 4183 must contact their state senators and register strong disapproval. There are so many things wrong with this bill that many non-vapers will oppose it too. In fact, any Massachusetts resident who supports civil liberties should stand against it. There is no reason to resurrect the worst parts of the drug war, including asset forfeiture.

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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Sonja Marx
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Sonja Marx

This bill is the most appalling, most treacherous and most disgusting piece I’ve ever heard of with regards to vaping. They criminalize vaping and make of vapers law-breaking criminals. They don’t seize the cars of smokers, they don’t search for flavored alcohol hidden behind the back seat – which is good because they have no right to do that. And of course, they have no right to seize the cars of vapers or to take away their e-liquid. How do they justify that? This really is outrageous. As a vaper from now on I wouldn’t leave my house without the… Read more »

lisa a Romano
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lisa a Romano

How about us the store owners. Since the ban happened we only had eight hours to sell our products and now have over $60,000 worth of Vape stuff mostly liquid that we can’t do anything with. But stores selling menthol cigarettes have until April to finish selling their products. We can’t return the legal products we bought and now there illegal. How is it legal for them to just leave me and my husband with $60grand worth of products we can’t do anything with!!!! And now they might try and take my car and charged me for products I legally… Read more »

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