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Industry Files Lawsuit To Stop Washington's Flavored Vape Ban

<p>Customer fills up vape pen with flavored nicotine liquid. A ban on the liquid goes into effect first thing Tuesday.&nbsp;</p>

Kristian Foden-Vencil. 


Customer fills up vape pen with flavored nicotine liquid. A ban on the liquid goes into effect first thing Tuesday. 

One of the vaping industry’s trade associations filed a lawsuit in Washington state Monday to try and block a new flavored vape ban.

The Vapor Technology Association and one of its members, Baron Enterprises LLC, filed suit to stop the Washington Department of Health from enforcing an emergency rule it approved Oct. 9. The agency was responding to mysterious deaths and illnesses related to vaping across the country. 

The association said the state acted so quickly it failed to consider evidence vaping products may be safer that traditional cigarettes.

Executive Director Tony Abboud also said Washington state should move beyond its simplistic and ineffectual ban.

“While claiming that it is trying to target the problem of youth vaping, the State’s Emergency Rule remarkably contains no provisions expressly directed at youth," said Abboud. 

He added that the Vapor Technology Association would be willing to work with regulators on "real solutions" to reduce youth vaping. 

Abboud said the state's current direction ruins "the livelihoods of the approximately 3,400 Washington residents employed by the small businesses that would be forced to close under this proposed ban."

There have been 12 cases of vaping associated lung injury in Washington since April. In Oregon, there have been 11, including two deaths.

A judge placed a stay on Oregon’s flavored vaping ban last week.

The Washington State Department of Health issued a statement saying the ban is necessary to immediately prevent more youth from being attracted to vaping and putting themselves at risk for severe lung injury and nicotine addiction. 

"Adults who choose to continue using vapor products have the freedom to choose tobacco flavored vapor products from our licensed retailers as tobacco flavored vapor products remain on the market legally," said the statement. 

In Massachusetts, a judge did not overturn Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's temporary ban on selling vaping products, but said it must be rewritten and resubmitted by Oct. 28 as an emergency regulation rather than an executive order.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.