Governor Baker Suspends Sale of Vaping Products

Mia Peterson, Staff Writer

September 24th, 2019, marks the date when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a public health emergency. This placed a four-month ban on the sales of vaping products in Massachusetts. 

The vaping epidemic has swept the nation, leaving many users ill or even dead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced there has been a record of 1,080 vaping related lung injury cases and 18 deaths across the country. Baker has supported his decision to ban the sale of vaping products by focusing on input from medical experts, including the fact that there have been dozens of suspected vaping related illnesses in the state of Massachusetts alone. By putting this ban in place, the goal is to stop the number of illnesses and deaths related to vaping from rising in Massachusetts. 

The ban may decrease the number of teens who are using e-cigarettes. Although vape has been marketed as an alternative to cigarette usage, vape products have grown very popular amongst teens, as The National Institutes of Health have recorded that 1 in 9 teens vape nicotine regularly. While the long term effects of vaping are unclear, researchers have found that nicotine negatively affects developing brains. 

Because of the heightened use of vaping devices, students in high schools are now learning the known effects of using these products. Scituate High School health teacher Jaime Dwyer has expressed her growing concern: “We are fully invested in teaching all of the grades about vaping.” Dwyer explained that in the past, the health curriculum included nicotine education, but currently four specific lessons are taught just about e-cigarettes. 

The ban on the sale of e-cigarettes is also intended to allow for further investigation of these products and provide answers as to what makes these products so dangerous. On behalf of the State of Massachusetts, Baker spoke, saying, “We as a Commonwealth need to pause sales for our medical experts to collect more information about what is driving these life-threatening vaping-related illnesses.”

Baker hopes to keep the state safe; however, the ban has received backlash from users and store owners alike, with some store owners suing. David Bershad, along with co-owner Stacy Poritzky of Vape Daddy’s in the Boston area, are left with $80,000 worth of vape juice, which can no longer be sold. Other vape shop owners are facing the same frustration and loss. Bershad has spoken out about people and customers he knows who have already turned back to cigarettes because they don’t have access to vape products.

Massachusetts isn’t the first state to ban vape products: Hawaii, California, Maine, New York, and New Jersey have also banned the sales of these products. The ban on sales of nicotine and marijuana vaping products is planned to end on January 25, 2020. In the next four months, more research will be dedicated to understanding the long term effects of vaping.