Gov. Steve Bullock on Tuesday directed the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services to temporarily prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
The ban will take effect on Oct. 22 and last for 120 days, the maximum time allowed by law. The ban includes the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products, including flavored nicotine, THC, and CBD vaping products, in-store and online. The ban does not require retailers to destroy existing inventory.
The ban on flavored e-cigarettes, which are widely marketed to and used by young people, aims to reduce e-cigarette use while authorities investigate what product or chemical is causing critical illness across the country and develop an evidence-based response.
Two cases were recently confirmed in Montana, including a person in their 20s from Gallatin County and a person in their 30s from Yellowstone County.
- The culprit behind vaping-related lung illnesses may be vitamin E chemical
- Vaping advocate blames lung issues on THC-filled, illegal cartridges
- Montana has its first confirmed case of severe pulmonary disease associated with vaping
- Vaping-related illness confirmed in Gallatin County
Nationwide, it's estimated that 1,080 confirmed and probable cases and 21 deaths linked to e-cigarette use have been identified in 48 states and one U.S. territory. More than half the cases involve patients under 25 years of age.
According to the press release, six other states have taken similar action - Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts. In addition, Utah has passed emergency rules limiting where e-cigarettes can be sold and California’s governor has issued an executive order to increase public awareness and develop warning labels.
The American Vaping Association said in a press release that Bullock's decision is "rash and unfounded," and that Bullock and the health department should expect a legal challenge in court.
The press release states: "This is yet another unfortunate snap decision where regulators have whole-heartedly accepted the rhetoric of the anti-vaping activists who have been using scare tactics instead of science to push for bans. These bans rob the millions of smokers who are trying quit, of their ability to do so, forcing them to turn back to cigarettes. Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have both estimated vaping to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Estimates from John Dunham & Associates indicate that there are more than 50 vapor-focused businesses throughout Montana could be shut down by this senseless ban."
The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has more information on its website , including this overview: