Governor Baker Declares Temporary Ban on Vaping Products

Intro from Will B.

Quinn Diaz on my team has prepared the helpful information below which provides the context for the Governor’s recent suspension of vaping products in Massachusetts. Please see my own statement boxed further below.

I’ve heard from some people who use vaping products and are very upset about the ban. There does appear to be a real health problem, but I also see the risk of that people will shift into the black market and use more dangerous products. I’m continue to be interested in hearing comments, especially from users of vaping products with a personal perspective. Please do comment below.

You can make your comment anonymous by using a fictional name and fictional email address. Your email address is never published. It is only visible to me and my team. We reserve the right not to publish comments that use an unverifiable email address.

On September 24, Governor Baker declared a public health emergency and temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products in response to a multi-state outbreak of unexplained lung illnesses associated with vaping. In effect until January 25, the ban seeks to provide medical experts time to properly investigate the dangers associated with the use of electronic nicotine and marijuana products, which will assist the state in developing a response that could include new legislation or Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations.

At a Public Health Council meeting on September 11, Commissioner Monical Bharel issued a mandate requiring clinicians statewide to report possible instances of vaping-related illness to DPH. The agency has since received 61 referrals and has forwarded five cases that have met federal criteria to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further examination. As of September 26, the CDC has collected the following information on lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use nationwide:

Source: Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Although conventional cigarette smoking has declined notably over the past several decades, 41% of high school students in Massachusetts reported having tried e-cigarettes in 2017, with 1 in 5 reporting regular use, according to DPH statistics. Current use of e-cigarettes among high school students is 6 times higher than the rate of use among adults, and vaping devices have become the most common tobacco product used by youth.

Given the industry’s nascence, gaps in scientific evidence and understanding still abound, including on the overall and long-term health impacts of vaping products and on their utility as combustible tobacco cessation devices.

Governor Baker’s emergency declaration authorizes local police departments, boards of public health, and the Cannabis Control Commission, which regulates the legal marijuana industry, to conduct compliance checks to ensure retailers and licensees remove all vaping products from their shelves. The state will also establish a standing pharmacy order for nicotine replacement products that individuals will be able to use their health insurance to purchase without a prescription.

Critics of the Governor’s ban have cited inconclusive data linking vaping-related lung illness to the legal market, concerns the ban may push individuals who use vapes into a dangerous, illicit market, evidence vaping has helped some people quit smoking, and the sudden impact on vaping businesses.

Following the Governor’s declaration, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health voted unanimously Wednesday to advance a redrafted version of a bill – S.2357, An Act regulating flavored tobacco products – first filed by Senator John Keenan and Representative Danielle Gregoire that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products. House Speaker Robert DeLeo also suggested the House would develop comprehensive legislation aimed at long-term solutions to issues surrounding vaping.

Additional Resources:

Summary of Comments by Quinn Diaz

A review of comments left as of September 27 at 2:45 PM indicate that commenters are nearly evenly split in their reactions to the Governor’s temporary ban on vaping products.

Supporters of the ban commonly view the executive action as a thoughtful response to an under-researched, preventable public health issue that predominantly affects youth and has initiated a new generation of smokers. Supporters expressed strong critiques of the vape industry, which they view as leveraging a lack of federal regulation and employing unethical marketing practices to target youth in order to drive profits, while pushing industry-funded studies to suggest vape products are safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes.

Critics of the ban view the Governor’s declaration as a reactive, shortsighted and ill-informed moral attack on individual liberties that will only work to harm medical marijuana patients and recreational consumers, small businesses, and individuals who have experienced success with vaping products as smoking cessation devices. Critics struggle to understand the utility of a temporary ban given the ongoing availability of combustible cigarettes, and cite concerns related to pushing individuals into an expanding black market with even more dangerous products. Critics also find fault with the Governor’s unilateral decision-making approach.

Among supporters, there was a notable faction who believe the ban should carve out exemptions for medical marijuana vape products.

Statement by Will Brownsberger

October 13, 2019

Thanks so much to all who have taken the time to comment online here. I have read every comment posted through midday on Sunday, October 13. All of the input is helpful. I especially appreciate those who shared personal experiences with vaping or with relatives who vape.

I do not doubt the Governor’s intentions, his deliberative process or even his wisdom, in instituting the ban on all vaping products. I think he heard from medical professionals who were deeply alarmed by the harms their patients had experienced from vaping. He considered advice from his public health team and he made a call in the best interests of the Commonwealth as he understood those interests.

It is a hard call, but I would not have instituted the ban myself. Instead, I would have focused on alerting people to the dangers of vaping generally and especially to vaping of substances from unreliable sources.

Backing up, let’s remember what kind of decision the Governor was called upon to make. Chapter 17, Section 2A empowers the Governor to declare “that an emergency exists which is detrimental to the public health”. Upon such a declaration, the Commissioner of Public Health is empowered “take such action and incur such liabilities as [s]he may deem necessary to assure the maintenance of public health and the prevention of disease”. These essential powers go back to early days of the republic. Even before germ theory developed, people understood that certain dangerous diseases were contagious and emergency responses were sometimes necessary to contain them.

I do not think we can second-guess the question of whether or not the emergent pattern of vaping deaths legally constitutes an emergency. Certainly, people are dying and we cannot quibble about how many deaths are necessary to constitute an emergency.

Given that the decision made based on a finding of a public health emergency, arguments about whether or not people should vape or have the right to vape are secondary. It is not of primary relevance to the emergency decision whether vaping helps people gets people off of cigarettes or whether it is a bad habit in itself. It is not of primary relevance whether too many young people are starting to vape or whether the industry is targeting young people. Civil liberties and fairness to business owners are not of primary relevance. All of those considerations are deeply important, but they relate to the permanent legislative policy response to vaping, not to the Governor’s emergency response to the emergent lung disease.

The question at the fulcrum at the emergency decision is whether or not the ban will save lives or place more lives at risk. In my view, the ban will likely place more lives at risk.

First, we know that roughly ten million children and adults vape nicotine regularly. According to a recent Massachusetts report, 20% of high school students currently use electronic nicotine products. That is a very troubling number, but it is very consistent with national data. It indicates that the population of high school nicotine vapers in Massachusetts alone is on the order of 60,000. Another roughly 15,000 middle school students have some experience with vaping nicotine. These numbers are based on survey data and so are likely biased downwards as some students may not admit their use. Nationwide, the total of current youth nicotine vapers appears to be on the order 4 million or more. Prevalence is lower among adults — only 2.8% nationally — but still that adds up to an estimated 6.9 million adult e-cigarette users.

Among youth in Massachusetts, the rate of admitted past-month use of marijuana is about the same as the rate of admitted past-month use of nicotine products — compare page 33 and page 35 of the Health and Risk Behaviors Survey of Massachusetts Youth). So, it appears likely many are vaping marijuana. It is safe to say that there are millions of THC vapers nationwide.

Second, it is clear that the rate of occurrence of the disease condition is very low among vapers. Nationwide, as of October 8, 1,299 lung injury cases had been reported to the CDC. It is possible that the detected number of cases is a tiny fraction of the actual cases. Milder negative effects of vaping may go unreported, but it seems implausible that 99% of the serious cases would go unreported, but let’s make that assumption for the sake of argument: Let’s assume that for every CDC reported case, there are 100 unreported cases. Even on that assumption, approximately 1% of vapers (order-of-magnitude 100,000 out of 10 million) would have been stricken with serious disease.

Third, it appears very likely that many if not all of the serious cases derive from ingredients in particular illicit products. Among 573 patients for whom the CDC had some data on substance use history, only 13% reported nicotine-only vaping. Most of the rest were using THC products which are only available on the illicit market in most states. “Nearly all THC-containing products reported were packaged, prefilled cartridges that were primarily acquired from informal sources such as friends, family members, illicit dealers, or off the street.” As to those claiming to use only nicotine products, we do not know how many preferred to conceal their THC use, but it is always safe to assume that illegal behavior is under-reported. Additionally, any true nicotine-only users may have been purchasing their product from illicit suppliers of nicotine products. This is likely especially among youth users as sales to minors are illegal under federal law.

Certainly, causes other than bad illicit products remain possible. A certain subset of users could be vulnerable due to a genetic pre-disposition or a co-occuring habit or a particular unusual style of consumption or a malfunction of their vaping equipment. Or the disease could have gone unrecognized and is now emerging as more users continue long-term use. But right now, we are without data that are specifically consistent with those theories, while we do have a very plausible illicit market ingredient theory.

Fourth, we know that nicotine is highly addictive, so that current nicotine vapers are very likely to continue using nicotine. Some will switch to other lawful nicotine delivery systems, but many will turn to nicotine vape suppliers who are willing to violate the Massachusetts sale ban — the kind of supplier likely to sell less safe products. Similarly, many current THC vapers will turn away from lawful Massachusetts suppliers selling regulated and tested products to the unlawful THC products that the CDC has identified as the most prevalent antecedent of the disease.

If, as the facts above suggest, thousands of Massachusetts vaping users may turn to riskier sources of product and continue vaping through the ban, it seems likely that the ban may result in increased disease and death. A widespread advisory about the risks of vaping and the specific exposures from certain products might have been a safer approach to protecting the public than an absolute ban. The one clearly good effect of the Governor’s decision is that it does send a huge advisory message.

There is no legislative appetite to overturn the Governor’s decision. Many legislators, like many commenters on the issue here, are worried about vaping generally as a public health issue and therefore welcome the Governor’s ban. So, we will have to live through the ban. At some point, hindsight will further illuminate the decision.

159 replies on “Governor Baker Declares Temporary Ban on Vaping Products”

  1. Hi Will,

    I just don’t see the data that is being used to make this decision. True quantitative data that shows a cause and effect. Right now, it’s damaging businesses, and cigarettes are still legal? My advice, look at real public health data and professionals. I think a ban s premature

    1. Ignorance, emotion, lack of evidence, posturing, and an irresistible desire to tell other people how to live when their behavior doesn’t affect you—these are the only things the prohibition side has to offer. People who want to ignore the will of the voters will use any excuse to get their way.

      Here are some facts, in no order:
      —Even the CDC is not pushing a ban, only urging that people “consider” avoiding vaping
      —None of these cases were associated with licensed MA dispensaries. The most likely culprit is a cheap filler ingredient used primarily in illegal cartridges
      —The whole lesson of this story is that bans do not stop people vaping. If anyone thinks illegal cartridges aren’t doing a very brisk business right now under Baker’s ban, they’re an idiot
      —The ban is having a catastrophic effect on small businesses. It’s obvious this effect is intentional. Even if the ban were to be lifted, these businesses will be still gone. That’s what the Prohibitionist want.

      Do we still have a functioning legislature? Or are we a dictatorship where laws can be passed based on one man’s ill-informed opinions, with an army of monied lobbyists waiting in the wings?

      Yes, we need better vaping regulation particularly regarding the way nicotine is marketed to kids. But will the legislative please get off their collective asses and ***** legislate??

      1. Steven, I would classify these more on the opinion side of the coin than on the fact side. If you’re going to state you’re going to give facts, please leave opinion out of it.

        Vaping was rushed to the market before an independent comprehensive study could be done on the pros and cons. It was marketed by these businesses as being a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes citing their own internal studies. Given big cigarette companies are large stake holders in the vaping business and they have a shady past on using “science” to discredit how bad their product is, it seems prudent to put a pause on sales to finalize a more objective study on the possible negative affects of vaping. Will it hurt small businesses in the short term that depend on the sales of vaping products? Yes. Could it affect medical marijuana patients as well? Possibly. The positives far outweigh the negatives if you also include in the equation the impact that vaping has had in our youth. That data is very clear. Under 18 youth are vaping at a much higher rate than they use cigarettes. Some of that will continue through the black market but the rates will likely decrease substantially with the legal sales being paused and access to product is reduced.

        1. You are confused about the distinction between fact and opinion. In any case, your approach is already in force in most of the states reporting actual deaths among vapers. Congratulations on bringing its benefits here.

      2. Great insight(s) about prohibition. Let’s remove them everywhere-dispensaries included- and let the unregulated black market proliferate. As a medical marijuana patient I have now lost that as an option. Well done Charlie

  2. I am not a person who vapes but I support the governor’s action…there was a rush to corporatetize vaping and now small individual business people are being hurt economically and emotionally. If you have ever been downsized out of job, the feeling is real. I suspect that Big Tobacco has been preparing for this eventuality and will be the entity to test and process a safe vaping system and there goes all the small business opportunities. But Massachusetts cannot support a business that is so visibly harmful…at least not without the necessary lobbying groups put together…such as Tobacco, Alcohol, Cigarettes and Gambling do.

  3. Given the health concerns and that minors appear to be at greatest risk, a temporary ban seems reasonable. The govt should move quickly though to investigate. Ads, packaging and flavors that target youth should be banned regardless as predatory, given the potential for addiction. Even if no health risk exists, it’s unethical to target young people with a product that they will be unable to easily give up, regardless of their ability to pay for it.

  4. Vaping should have been banned sooner. How can inhalation of unknown substances be healthy? It need to be more regulated. If it is regulated then the ban can be liftedFor those using it as a step to smoking cessations, there should be state assistance in the form of free patches and other means (if it does not already exist). Lowering the number of smokers now will help to lower everyone’s premiums for healthcare.

  5. When 9 Mass citizens die of EEE all resources are mobilized. More of our citizens will have chronic lung disease and death from vaping. Thi is a preventable health risk with high medical costs. Lives are more valuable than the profits of vape sellers. I approve this moratorium to explore why some vapers are affected and not others. Burt Jaffe M. D.

    1. Well said and reasoned, Burt. I agree completely, and reach for common sense: pulling particles of any sort into our lung’s alveoli is stupid, and any public measure that can curb stupid behavior on the part of some citizens – if not too onerous on the rest of us – is worthy of our support.

      1. You’re not my damn doctor. Whether my behavior meets your standards of health is absolutely none of your damn business.

        Go celebrate your short lived victory with a cocktail.

        1. Steven, You can do whatever you want. Just make sure that you have enough health insurance in case you get sick.

  6. I am an epidemiologist and a medical marijuana patient. From the point-of-view of an epidemiologist, the problem is that the medical marijuana infrastructure in Mass is well run, and the marijuana vaping that is done through that infrastructure has been done safely for years. I am caught up in this ban. For a long time, we have known nicotine is very bad for you and it should be illegal, but now it has not been regulated properly, and those producing nicotine products without any supervision are now also producing THC products without any supervision, and apparently, these are killing people. There is no research, but it looks like that’s what’s killing people – not the medical marijuana products from Mass. Hence, the unregulated and unresearched products are getting mixed in legislatively with my researched and safe THC-related products.

    The research of the THC products was privately supported by patients and the THC industry – not the government. By contrast, the government paid for a lot of tobacco research that found it was bad for you – and then didn’t fund any vaping research, so no one did. I learned Maharry College received a grant from Juul to study vaping from an NPR episode recently. I can’t see that college having the capacity; I studied at the Univ. of MN where epidemiologists testified against Big Tobacco, which is part of why I know all this.

    Without an evidence-base, we cannot make policy. I’m disappointed I will suffer because of this, and I feel like a ban won’t work without pairing the ban with money for research so we know what to do. Right now, unless we do something about tobacco and vaping companies, I can’t see us doing anything about whatever is killing these people.

    1. I have never tried vaping, but as a medical marijuana user, I know that there is a major difference between the recreational vaping that is hurting so many people and the medical vaping that is very controlled and has helped many people. With the advent of recreational marijuana, I am watching medical marijuana users being thrown under the bus as the big profits come in from recreational use. When the new law went into effect, there was supposed to be a very strong line between medical and recreational use. That line seems to have blurred. Most medical users are advised and supervised by clinics and our use of marijuana is closely aligned with other medical care. While I support a ban on general vaping, I think that medical users are in a different category and should not be deprived of medically prescribed treatment. Medical users must be re-certified annually and pay a fee to the state for a license. They are, or should be, in a totally different category than recreational users.

      1. No? You are vaping the exact same products available for adult use. None of your doctors are supervising their manufacture. If it’s too dangerous for adult use on healthy adults, obviously it’s much too dangerous for sick people.

        1. Point of information: I’m the epidemiologist who posted above. I just wanted to make clear that “doctors” without any extra training specifically in another topic cannot really weigh in on “supervising the manufacture” of any medications. That’s done by public health people, chemists, laboratorians, and others who understand manufacturing drugs, which doctors do not unless they gain other training outside of medicine.

          There are other FDA-approved drugs that are found to be dangerous and are recalled all the time. This is not the fault of personal physicians. It’s not logical to expect “doctors” to supervise manufacturing – only to weigh in on studies of their patients.

      2. Bull Loney. Thanks to the CDC dropping the ball and the FDA what is really happening is people are going to go back to cigarettes because states are losing money from them not smoking. Investigate that follow the money. The state’s lose money when they lose smokers because of the lawsuit against big tobacco they only pay for people who use tobacco so now the state’s lose the money when people go to vaping

  7. Agree that vaping poses potentially serious health risks. That being said, unlike cigarettes which emit second hand smoke, vape use harms only the individual using. If the adult is over 18 and assumes the risk, I don’t like the precedent of the Governor stepping in to ban it being set/reinforced.

    1. Second hand smoke is a problem with vaping as well as regular cigarettes!
      was standing at a buss stop and found I had gotten an itch like feeling in my lung.
      I began coughing, repeatedly, I looked around to see if there might be something in the air.
      I didn’t notice at first but then saw that a guy close to me was vaping. I moved away and my urge to cough went away as well. I know from that experience and common sense that vaping is not just bad for the person vaping. Vaping should never have been allowed with out at least basic testing which clearly had not been done.

  8. Too many young people are getting ill and some even dying. I think Governor Baker did the right thing in banning vaping until more research is done.

  9. Protecting the health of our children out ways the distribution and sales of a product that is addictive and whose health dangers are still being determined

  10. I do not smoke or vape but think the state is wrong to ban vaping. It enables people to quit smoking, is a delivery system for pain relief, and is an appealing alternative to smoking. I do not believe, “vaping devices have become the most common tobacco product used by youth.” It’s not smoking and the data cited do not prove anything. It’s like banning cars after the first year because they kill a few people.

    1. Grant, it’s an easy thing to look up. The data speaks for itself. First paragraph on the FDA website regarding use of tobacco products is below:

      “According to 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data, current e-cigarette use—or “vaping”—among middle and high school students increased alarmingly between 2017 and 2018, with over 3.6 million kids currently using e-cigarettes in 2018. Each year, the NYTS—a nationally representative survey funded by FDA and CDC—sheds light on the latest rates of tobacco use among both middle and high school students. In recent years, e-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco product by U.S. teens; however, rates of use generally declined between 2015 and 2017. Unfortunately, the 2018 NYTS data show a sharp and startling reversal of overall declines in youth tobacco use from previous years.”

  11. Can you explain why vaping was so under-regulated in the first place? Like a couple of your other commentators I was astonished that there was so little consideration of potential health risks before e-cigarettes were allowed to be sold widely.

    One question is whether these problems are rare and due to either misuse or genetic variation, or whether they’re a very frightening tip of the iceberg. It’s especially frightening that they’re coming up so fast after vaping became common. Unless there’s a good reason to think that the susceptibility to vaping is rare, I support the ban despite the problems.

    1. These particular problems aren’t occurring soon after vaping became prevalent. They’re arising years later and very suddenly.

  12. I’m simply not persuaded that anyone seeking to quit cigarettes or to take medical marijuana must do it by vaping. There are other ways to quit smoking, and ways that do not so readily (and deliberately) get under-age users addicted. There was life before vaping. Vaping was allowed on the market with no long-term medical studies of whether it is safe. If a four-month ban gets people to seek safer ways to quit smoking or treat a medical condition, it will have saved at least a few lives.

    1. Well reasoned Anonymous one.
      Vaping is not an essential path for any medical use period.
      It is not an essential to any enjoyment of life.
      Vaping is not only harmful to the user but to those around them and there families.

  13. Bravo Governor Baker! Ban it. Medical professionals can weigh in on whether it should be available by doctor’s prescription.

  14. I stopped smoking 26 years ago. Every time I smell a freshly lit a tobacco I yearn for it. The idea of stopping the sale of vaping products is good and may delay someone else from becoming addicted. The ancillary actions accompanying vaping, and tobacco use, the socialization, the oral gratification and, of course, the impact of nicotine. The action should be joined with a way to allow the small business people to maintain until the permanent solution is developed and implement.

  15. As a medical user who successfully uses cannabis in a vape cartridge to avoid having to resort to opiates, I am very displeased with the governor’s ban. I have asthma and smoking flower aggravates my symptoms where vaporizing does not. At least allow those of us who are medical uses have access to the medicine that works for us. Most medical users are more savvy than casual users about our bodies and are under the care of a doctor, so we are more closely monitored than the general population and the medical vaping products are already closely monitored for quality and content, so they should be allowed during this examination period.
    Thank you.
    To close, a few points,
    Cars kill how many people per year? Legal
    Guns kill how many people per year? Legal
    ICE kills how many people per year? Legal
    Air Pollution kills how many people per year? Seems to be legal.
    Water Pollution kills how many people per year? Seems to be legal.
    Climate Change kills how many people per year? It’s a hoax.
    Asthma? Lung Cancer? Asbestos? Lead? Mercury?

  16. I am ambivalent on this matter, Will. The idea that vaping would be better for one’s health rather than smoking cigarettes always seemed like a fallacy – too good to be true.
    I don’t like the government imposing laws on what I consume. Vaping for certain individuals – especially our youth – in some cases causes almost immediate irreversible illness – possibly death – for them I am most concerned. My grandson tells me that half the kids at his high school vape. Yikes, this is so scary! In this case, I believe Governor Baker made a wise decision. Let’s conduct more research before we allow these dangerous products to be available to the public.

  17. Absolutely it should be banned. All that vaping has become is trading one bad addiction for another. Cigarettes should have been banned like this along time ago like this as well. I am amazed at how many kids I see walking home from school as I’m coming home from work in the afternoon vaping. It’s easily triple if not more, than the kids I used to see in high school smoking cigarettes.
    People can feel bad all they want about the vape shops laying people off or not being able to keep their doors open anymore. That was their choice to open a business that caters to vapers knowing it could be just as dangerous if not more than smoking cigarettes.

  18. I don’t understand the logic. It certainly looks — perhaps I am missing something really basic — as though all anyone who wants to buy a device need do is ask Google. Or a kid at the local high school. Plus I don’t understand how a ban contributes to the science one way or the other.

    Fred Hapgood

  19. My response is a bit different. My family is 100 per cent against vaping.
    But, if possible and if I am allowed an opinion, I would simply define these as cigarettes, legally. Please extend the definition of lvaping to be included by the Massachusetts definition and restrictions on cigarettes or cigarette smoking.

    Keeps young people away from even worse, but provide with the Government a kind regulatory mechanism.

  20. Why all this so suddenly?

    Vaping has been around for many years.

    Is this being pushed by the tobacco industry?

  21. It’s hypocritical to prohibit vaping and still allow the selling of cigarettes

    I would be for the removal of all vaping products and removal of all cigarettes to be sold in the Commonwealth

    People die from smoking cigarettes in very large numbers and this has been true for decades and we know this

    One of the biggest problems with cigarettes is that kids smoke cigarettes so why are cigarettes allowed to be sold when it’s known to be an addictive toxic and dangerous product ?

  22. Anyone applauding this politically expedient ban hasn’t dealt with patients for whom it’s critical (you can still vape flowers long story). Just more over reaction to “news” what news? The CDC hasn’t weighed in as they’re trying to figure this out.
    Much like the corruption with Fentanyl this is a product of greed: look up the recent bust of an enormous vape shop, cheap supplies from China including knock-off packaging. To actually include the amount of THC equivalent to what we can currently buy is Expensive. (See history of ‘jake leg’ during prohibition)
    Today we saw the no hands bill fail, yet a bunch of privledged freaked out moms who have no medical knowledge want to applaud driving drugs underground and back on the streets.
    There’s a time updated map via New England Journal of medicine if you wish to delve deeper.
    Self reporting is notoriously unreliable. The CDC acknowledges this.
    The chemical reaction inside the vape canister is not without negatives, but compared with cigarettes it’s nothing. Something else is happening in the combustion process. I do Not believe this has been an ongoing problem. I know many people who are using medical cannabis, including in my family.
    If your kids are hiding their vaping and God knows their quick addiction to nicotine deal with it. Don’t push your 5 PM news on my friend fighting cancer.

    1. Your comment about privileged moms is spot on. I’d also add geezers as another guilty category, which to be fair I kind of count myself as one. It’s indeed a position of privilege and entitlement to spew ill-considered opinions about legislation that can have enormous impact on people’s lives, especially the poor and minorities, throw the cops back into the marijuana fights, and feel not the slightest obligation to inform yourself beyond a clickbait article or two because, hey, it only affects those people. Sickening.

  23. I vape THC to manage my fibromyalgia pain, so I am disappointed in this ban given that it is not the legal stuff bought at a dispensary that is causing these problems, but black market goods that are tainted. If kids want to vape they will find a way. Instead of banning vapes, start cracking down in the businesses selling them to underage people.

    1. How do you know that the illegal stuff is the problem? An issue here is that even the legal vaping liquids have a stew of unknown ingredients.

    2. Vaping is not needed to address your fibromyalgia.
      Vaping is not a necessity for anything. It’s just a toy you and others like to use and we all know it except people like you who think it’s cool or whatever. I was a cigarette smoker once until I realized I had been suckered into thinking it was what I wanted. One day I got honest with myself and quit.
      I have tried to stop fooling myself ever since. It’s not easy but you can do it.

      1. David, what an uncalled for and childish remark. As I stated, I smoke THC, not nicotine. Never smoked nicotine in my life, and never will. I don’t smoke because it’s cool, I smoke because I have a chronic pain condition and it keeps me off opiates and able to function throughout the day. Please learn about what you’re talking about before you talk about it.

  24. I don’t agree with the ban now that I’ve read comments on both sides. What’s really needed is immediate all hands on deck problem solving to research, investigate and educate.
    Require small businesses to post risks as they are understood…
    Do the hard work of understanding the problem. Alcohol and tobacco etc etc are not banned. Why not ban all guns?

  25. While I understand the sentiment behind the ban, we haven’t experienced these same issues in Massachusetts where vape products have been used in medical marijuana dispensaries for years. In fact, vaping is the preferred method of delivery for medical marijuana patients. Not only will this ban severely affect patients that chose not to smoke or may be unable to use edibles, but this could have an incredible impact on medical-only dispensaries – and could even put them out of business. Again, the medical marijuana community relies heavily on vape products. I subscribe to newsletters from two medical dispensaries and they have been extremely transparent with their process, their ingredients, and the safety measures that they take. One of them is owned by an MD.
    This ban is shortsighted, a clumsy band-aid, and harmful to patients and business. I do understand the fear, but this reaction by Gov. Baker is over the top and not evidence based.

    1. At the very LEAST, medical marijuana dispensaries shouldn’t be lumped into this ban. They’re held to entirely different standards that your typical Juul store and this needs to be acknowledged.

  26. Banning all vaping products at this stage of the business does indeed sound pretty ham-handed. But I see no choice, given what we know and don’t know about the risks of vaping. We know enough that there are serious dangers. A crash effort is need to figure out the cause, given the popularity of vaping and the ready availability of illicit products. I can’t imagine what the solution will be, since cheap illicit (and dangerous) products will always be available. Maybe vaping has to be banned ultimately. Like backyard stills.

    1. You do realize almost all of these deaths occurred in states where THC vaping is already banned, don’t you?

  27. I feel bad for the local business folks who may go out of business. If you vape responsibly, an adult should be able to make their own decision.

  28. Whenever some type of Prohibition is made into law, it creates a black market and, this time, many small businesses will go under. Humans do what they do and laws don’t stop them. That’s just the way we are cut. So.

  29. I started smoking consistently (and heavily) at 17 – access to cigarettes was never an issue even in middle school, we just bought them at our local corner store. I’m 33 and have been vaping for about seven years. FWIW my health has improved considerably since I made the switch; I get regular physicals and my doctor has noted that my lungs are in good shape. I find this recent trend of sudden illness or death disturbing. To our legislators, I must ask why we don’t already have sound regulations for this market that limits the public health impact without killing the industry/creating conditions for takeover by big tobacco? Vape products have been on the market for over a decade.

    Switching gears now, I think this ban is downright cruel to people who are addicted to nicotine. It irks me to no end when those who are not addicted suggest unsatisfying alternatives like patches, gum, and inhalers. Has no one stopped to consider that just like some opiate users may need to take suboxone or methadone for the rest of their lives, so too may some need a long-term alternative to cigarettes that they can stick with? I belong to a cohort of people (chronic mood and psychotic disorders) that has a smoking rate above 50%, and for many of us, quitting nicotine is way, way down on the list of personal goals. Somehow, someway, we must harmonize the interests of (reluctant) nicotine addicts, people who don’t want to quit, marginal weirdos who can’t quit, concerned parents, vulnerable young people, and an influential cabal of the healthy and wealthy – can this be done? I don’t know, but please lay off my fix.

    1. Very well put, Will! I smoked cigarettes for over 12 years (starting in high school) and I switched over within a week of trying vaping and haven’t smoked a cigarette in almost 2 years now. This ban will not only push some people back to smoking cigarettes, but it will also close many local small businesses. I have become friendly with several employees at vape shops and so many of them truly believe that they are helping people to quit smoking by presenting a harm-reducing alternative. I have also read that the UK sees vaping as harm-reduction and has a much more evolved perspective on this topic.

      At this point in time I do not have enough supplies to make it through 4 months. I have tried to order supplies online to stock up, and was able to order some things but several websites have already refused to ship products to MA. If I am not able to get the supplies I ordered, I am going to consider switching back to cigarettes (under duress and hopefully for a very limited time). I am scared at this prospect because it would be a step backward for me, but Charlie Baker will not be forcing me to address my nicotine dependence on his timeframe, it will be done on my own time frame. Maybe thats being too stubborn, but I am extremely disappointed that the MA government would take this action without any warning and with immediate effect.

      I have been using the same vaping system and liquids for almost 2 years and have never experienced any illnesses that are vaping related. I believe that this ban is supposed to “look” like its going to be effective but the (unintended) consequences are extremely high. I believe that there were alternatives – like banning all nicotine products under 3 milligrams, for example. But those would have taken perhaps a more nuanced and less impulsive person than Baker. I am desperately hoping the ban will be appealed or modified so that I will be able to continue the journey I have already started: to wean myself off nicotine entirely (which is something that vaping allows a person to do, while cigarettes do not). I am proud that vaping helped me stop smoking.
      For anyone who wants more info, here is an article that I have passed along to others:

    2. This addiction you speak of is just a mental construct of selfish people.
      You do not deserves or has the right to subject those around them to the evil that is cigarettes and vaping.
      There are no benefits to cigarettes.
      Anyone who says they need them is a selfish and delusional liar.
      Vaping is the same. You can do without it. We all can do without it. Stop being selfish.
      If you want to abuse yourself just get over it. You know I’m right. Self abuse effects others.
      Self abuse is not a right.

      1. David, I don’t know why, but I like you man.

        You’re deep in this comment section guns blazing, you nut 😉

        Did you mean to say ” … just get it over with?”

      2. If you’re correlating someone vaping near you to irritation in your lungs, I won’t discount it; I believe we need more quality, peer-reviewed research in addition to what’s already been published. It feels like your pointing your finger at people who already struggle to function in their day-to-day lives. I will acquiesce to the superiority of your lifestyle if you come to my house with 5,000 in cash and a new brain.

      3. Wow, I am sorry you’re in such pain. Hurt people hurt people and I am feeling a lot of ignorance and aggression coming from you.

        As someone in recovery and as someone who has the people closest to me struggling actively with addiction, I take addiction very seriously. I am very familiar with the complexities of it in intimate detail. I feel like my comments spoke calmly about my personal experiences and I cannot relate to needing to put someone else down like you put me down by calling me a “selfish and delusional liar”. I feel a lot of anger that seems out of proportion to what I wrote. If I was able to allow you to get some of that anger, I am glad I could help you. Have a nice weekend 🙂

  30. Banning the thing is not a solution, but only a temporary Band-Aid. Sadly, the governors Band-Aid of a solution it’s harming medical marijuana patients across the state.

    It is completely unfair, and on scientific, to group all types of vaping into one category.

    Type 1.
    Those who Vape ejuice knowingly and just nicotine along with propylene glycol… a known lung irritant.

    Type 2.
    Those who Vape pure CBD or Marijuana oil, purchased legally at a state regulated dispensary, are NOT knowingly taking either of those risks.

    Type 3
    Those who Vape supplements, via Amazon or other online portals, have no idea what they are truly ingesting, as that market remains on regulated. Many are drawing a link between vitamin E oil and the current vaping crisis.

    Denying medical marijuana patients their prescription medicine should be a human rights violation. I am truly sorry for the families of victims, and survivors who remain ill, possibly due to vaping ejuice or unregulated vaping products. Yet, punishing patients who are purchasing their medicine at legally regulated stores will not help these people.

  31. What Baker did is stupid for two main reasons:
    1. It disenfranchises medical marijuana users who use vaping products.
    2. There are dozens of ways to get around it and more will be invented by clever entrepreneurs and black marketeers.
    It won’t work and will obstruct those with legitimate needs from using products they feel work for them. The science doesn’t matter. It’s a broad-axe poorly thought-out solution that will have unintended consequences. A more thoughtful approach is needed, which should include public health campaigns.

  32. I neither vape or use e cigarettes but believe the ban places an undue burden on small businesses and will likely cause undue hardship to employees of businesses which will be closed due to this edict causing unemployment and bankruptcy. We need to see more thorough investigation into the cause of vaping illness before a ban is proclaimed. The governors intensions are admirable but seem to the result of panic rather than well informed facts.

  33. I believe vaping should be banned. It is shocking that it was even approved, and the subsequent health problems is no surprise.

  34. This is a tough one for me to answer as I could give reasons for either scenario.
    On the one hand if our government can legalize the sales and use of marijuana, liquor, and tobacco (which all kill people in one way or another) then why not allow vaping sales and use.
    On the other hand, just because a few things are BAD but legal does not mean that everything should be legal for sales and use.
    So, I guess that I am in the camp that an ounce of prevention is better than some deaths and potential long term lung illnesses for our citizens especially our younger ones.

  35. This seems like an opaque political stunt to me, but if we get to pass some regulations that result in a higher quality cartridge getting imported the sooner the better. My condolences go out to the business owners affected. Our medical infrastructure and required testing are a benefit to the consumer even in our now recreational market. But there are low quality products on the market as well. I’m all for raising the bar but I think it’s clear that the (hopefully one term) governor has overstepped for his own political benefit. Let’s be clear that we are now spending state resources time and money to solicit any self reported private medical information that could give Baker any more
    ammunition for his political ambitions. What a way for him to portray our commonwealth to the national stage.

  36. Banning the sale of these products is pointless and damaging for small local businesses that have invested in these products they can no longer sell. A barbershop/smoke shop on Harvard Ave has been keeping afloat through vape sales after trying everything to stay in business. It breaks my heart to think of them going under after all this time. they’re such nice people. I don’t drink or smoke or anything. But I don’t think I have a right to impose my personal choices on others. We allow alcohol and cigarettes. It’s hypocritical to ban vaping.

  37. There should be an exemption for medical cannabis and for nicotine inhalers prescribed for smoking cessation ( nicotrol) Patients who have been using these should not be denied access to medication without compelling evidence. As with all medication risks and benefits need to be carefully weighed

  38. I walked by a group of young people today and many had e-cigarettes in their mouths. They are not using this; method to get off cigarettes, they probably never smoked. How many of them will develop lung problems and die???? We now know that the process of vaping is associated with lung issues and has caused deaths. I do not understand why anyone would not support a ban.m I am fully in support of a ban.

  39. I’m neutral on vaping, but day one of the ban – I noticed many more people smoking cigarettes where I work downtown.

  40. I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Kaye. It doesn’t appear that licensed medical marijuana sales have caused any of these issues. Vaping anything is not healthy — especially for young people — but medical marijuana should still be made available by prescription from licensed vendors.

  41. First priority is to prevent unnecessary illness or death, and hence, a ban seems a prudent and appropriate step until more information is gathered. In the very short-term, scientists and public health experts could quickly determine if vaping is the primary cause of recent deaths. Would agree with an “exemption” from the ban for approved/certified medicinal marijuana dispenseries and devices; which can be worked on immediately even with the overall ban in place. However, those exemptions should be carefully proscribed, monitored and enforced, to avoid loopholes sought by the unscrupulous (recreational users or people motivated by profit incentives).

    While it may seem unfair to some that the ban also prohibits those who have switched to vaping from actual smoking, the many illnesses and deaths scream for further investigation to prevent more such dire negative outcomes — no matter how “benign” the vapers’ goals, desires, or outcomes might be. This is a public health issue, and we need robust investigation to determine if vaping is causing the deaths. As someone said earlier, we would do something drastic (bans, spraying chemicals, investing research dollars, providing alternatives, etc) were this about EEE virus (or lead in drinking water, or noxious fumes from a smokestack, etc.), so why not vaping given what we have learned so far?

  42. With 3 teenage boys and a known connection to serious, short term health consequences, including death ( and we are not talking about maybe you will get cancer in 30 years ), vaping scares the heck out of me. Vaping may be a path to kicking cigarettes but it may be a path the other way too. I smoothed as a teen an quit be moving to light cigarettes the then pure will power. The FDA just said they were too slow in taking action. If the tobacco industry lobbyists were not so powerful I would guess tobacco products would be banned. I do worry about black market. The governor is right with the temp ban until we know more. I do feel bad for the retailers but they are selling a drug. When a drug company has a serious adverse affect it can be pulled from the market.

  43. I would say that the risks of teens of getting hooked on Vaping threatens to undo years of progress that prevented Big Tobacco from targeting kids. These flavored vaping products are being aimed at kids and unless action is taken we are going to have the economic, social and health cost of Vaping taking over where smoking once reigned in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Lobbyists are already pushing back (with significant cash reserves). They (ironically) have targeted the Trump administration ban, and now are fighting bans in NY and San Francisco (both Liberal bastions). Put science and kids first. Full stop.

  44. Thanks for the question Will.

    Baker did the right thing. I am feeling bad for those that need THC but before vape, there were options. For a four month period, let’s go there.

    For those that think it is only illegal vape products, they don’t have enough knowledge to know that. Even “legitimate” products are a problem.

    All these vape products are awful until proven otherwise. Knowing from first hand experience, seeing many young adults and teens using these products and the impact on them mentally and physically is very clear. This is a huge problem.

    It wasn’t until recently when a Belmont High girl was in the hospital for five days with a vape related illness did many of these kids start thinking twice.

    I do have to state a comment on Grant’s quote above (I don’t believe, “vaping devices have become the most common tobacco product used by youth.”) if he feels this way, he doesn’t have teenagers or isn’t close to this part of our community. It is rampant. Nothing like I have ever seen before.

    Parenting is hard enough. Vaping availability has made it harder.

    I did like Kellie’s comment, we need to crack down. Why is the penalty $1,000 for each product in each case. If they sell the product in these four months, or sell to a minor when the ban is lifted, shut their business down for one week. Have a real consequence to make them think twice and be more stringent on who they sell to.

  45. It seems crazy that we are letting people buy weed legally to avoid the dangers of the black market and now we are pushing people onto the black market for vape products. I spoke to someone today who has used vaping to end a long dependence on cigarettes and he was outraged.

    1. I know first hand that vaping is definitely an issue for kids our age. Whether its causing disease or not, it is for sure not good for you. That being said , vapes weren’t created for kids, and when people say that companies like juul are, “advertising vaping to teens” I highly disagree. I have never seen an ad for a vape, and the only vaping advertising I have ever witnessed is by other kids snapchats. Whoever created juul did not attend for kids to use them, and they are clearly better for you the cigarettes, so even though I do not think teens or kids should try vaping, they still need to be used as a tool to help adult smokes kick their habit.

  46. I 100% support Governor Baker with his ban. Just because another states has it legalized doesn’t mean Massachusetts should ease up on a public health concern for the sake of dollars. This was the argument made for things like fireworks and firearms. I would credit Governor Baker for being the first in the nation in having a state-wide ban as well as being a model person who is willing to work with democrats despite taking a hit from the republican party for not being more Trump-like.

  47. I don’t support overall bans based on limited evidence – I believe that more regulation, research, and public information are key to addressing this problem. I also don’t understand Gov Baker’s priorities – for example, why not declare a climate change emergency, given the mounting crises faced by hundreds of thousands in the Commonwealth who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change? Also, I fear that this takes away from the more widespread impacts of other crises like the opiod crisis.

  48. It is patently obvious that these products are a workaround designed to recruit children into addiction, brought into play just as enforcement against conventional tobacco sales to minors finally got sone teeth. The candy flavors were the dead giveaway. This first step towards effective control is long overdue.

  49. Vaping has been found to be very dangerous — even fatal. I think Governor Baker is doing the right thing by banning it — I actually think there should be a federal ban. Legalization of marijuana is not the smartest thing either.

  50. On the one hand I support people’s freedom of choice, even to do stupid self-destructive things (provided that it doesn’t impact the common good),
    and to make their own decisions concerning their bodies — Government
    often doesn’t know what’s best and political pressures can impinge with
    toxic effect — especially when it comes to women’s reproductive choices.
    On the other hand I don’t have much sympathy for businesses that cry
    “I’m going bankrupt!” The public good must always trump profits —
    otherwise it’s just blood money.

  51. Will, listen to the epidemiologist. She knows what she’s talking about; most of the rest of the people commenting here (heck, including me!) don’t.

    If I understand correctly, 5 out of the 805 cases reported to the CDC were from Massachusetts. That’s 0.62%. Massachusetts has 2.11% of the population of the country. In other words, there are a lot fewer illnesses being caused by vaping in Massachusetts than in the rest of the country. Given that, it’s not clear that the harm to legitimate vaping users, especially medical marijuana users, of banning vaping here is justified.

  52. As the father of a high school student, I can tell you that a year ago nicotine vaping was already widespread throughout Belmont high school before parents or teachers realized what was going on. There is little or no smell, it is hard to detect when used in the home or school, I find vaping carriages on sidewalk on the way to school, vapes are bought and sold via Snapchat and other social media outlets. It is distressing to think that a whole generation of kids that might not have picked up cigarettes is nevertheless becoming addicted to nicotine by vaping. If the ban slows this down, that is a good thing but I agree with others the highly-regulated medical marijuana vapes should be excluded.

  53. Dear Senator:

    I am extremely heartened that action is being taken to stem what I see as a seriously wrong turn in the long and arduous battle against nicotine addition and the damage and cost it imposes on the body and on society. Vaping is just another way to get hooked on nicotine and a more insidious means of administration.
    I see absolutely no credibility in the claim of some black market that will spring up if e-cigarettes are banned, and cannot imagine that suggestion being a serious reason to hold back on getting this new cancer/illness/addiction mechanism off the shelves. Watching people vape is like watching someone shoot up (have you noticed the intensity with which people suck on the pens?) and the paraphernalia associated with it is now littering our streets and parks and sidewalks. If you’re hearing strong objections to a ban from vaping advocates, you’re hearing from addicts. I strongly urge you to support the Governor’s proposed ban.

    Thank you for seeking input on this important public health matter.

    1. Lol sorry for bringing down the neighborhood Dolores – what a scandal that you had to witness people manage an addiction in public! The way you dramatize the act of injecting drugs and then compare it to vaping seems naive and petty – are we talking about heroin in movies or real life? Shame on you for using IV users as some kind of gold standard for human degeneracy and then insulting people with a different addiction in the same breath. I hereby invoke the power of the Dark Lord that your street be covered in syringes and Juul pods – hail Satan!

  54. I think it is very wise and prudent that Governor Baker made this decision. Being in research my whole life I am aware of chemicals used in products deemed safe for marketing, however the complexity of delivery and metabolism by the body can show adverse effects. This is a broad statement as I am not at liberty to disclose particular research results.

  55. While not voicing an opinion one way or the other on the temporary ban, I am very interested in the public debate on this. I am anticipating that many of those who have been anti lifting the prohibition on marijuana will see this as evidence of the righteousness of their position, rather then recognizing that the problem is primarily or exclusively in the illegal market. If it is possible, I am attaching two recent articles on the issue from The Economist. If attachments are not possible, I’ll send them in an email.

  56. This is not a good idea as it will drive people to buy on the street where most of the contaminated products seem to be coming from. Think back to the days of Prohibition when liquor was banned. There should have been more evidence that store bought products are the cause. This will hurt small businesses and create worse problems.

  57. This is hurting businesses (smokeless tobacco shops, medical marijuana shops), and medical marijuana patients the most. Many businesses will be forced to close. MMJ Patients may prefer to vape. Please express a need to lift the ban!

  58. I have already emailed the governor to congratulate him on his principled, courageous act. Massachusetts should be proud that he has taken a this stand.

  59. I feel like this decision has been made reactively rather than with any measured consideration of the evidence, and without considering the effects it could have on medical marijuana users. I have a good friend with Ehlers-Danloss syndrome, which causes her to suffer from chronic pain issues. She uses marijuana vaping products as a major part of her pain relief, which allows her to treat herself specifically when the pain hits without having to consume, say, an entire joint through smoking (which she hated). Vaping was also more convenient and discreet if she is not at home and in a great deal of pain. She is also not allowed to smoke in her apartment so the vaping canisters allowed her to control pain without creating large quantities of damaging smoke. This decision, especially since it came without warning and without consideration of medical users, has put her in a very difficult situation as she was almost out and is now struggling to stretch what she has left while trying to come up with another solution to manage her pain without angering her landlord. She has been very stressed and worried, especially as she already had to take disability leave because of her disease and was finally getting back to work and doing better. I think any ban should be made with careful consideration of the facts, which seem to indicate it is more of a black market problem in the first place and therefore this is just going to exacerbate it, and I don’t recall any instances of vaping marijuana being linked to these deaths or illnesses (I may have missed it but I thought it was all tobacco-based?). If a ban is deemed necessary it should be done with consideration for medical marijuana vapers, perhaps with a waiver system for those with demonstrated medical need.

  60. I don’t agree with the ban on medical marijuana vapor products. As a medical patient, that is my main way of dosing. Products were immediately taken off the shelves with little to no announcement. I agree with the ban on tobacco products especially poorly produced and not pure products.

  61. I am not a fan of the Governor’s, but on this I agree! Not happy that it will hurt business owners (after all liquor stores sell products that kill many more people). I don’t think that government should have a say in what an adult can and cannot do for/to themself. The key word being adult. Children on the other had should be protected. Make it legal for anyone over 21 years of age. After that they are on their own.

  62. Second hand smoke is a problem with vaping as well as regular cigarettes.
    I was standing at a buss stop and found I had gotten an itch like feeling in my lung and began coughing, repeatedly, I looked around to see if there might be something in the air.
    I didn’t notice at first but then saw that a guy close to me was vaping. I moved away and my lung itch and urge to cough went away.
    I know from that experience and common sense that vaping is not just bad for the person vaping. Vaping should never have been allowed with out at least basic testing which clearly had not been done.
    Just because we allow cigarettes to be available to some people doesn’t mean we should allow all and every self destructive device out there for people to have.
    Why bad decisions are popular is truly beyond me but we don’t have to make it easy for people to make them.

  63. I disagree with Governor Baker’s ban. People have the right to make their own choices and decisions. We should not interfere with people’s lives unless they are asking for help. Additionally, businesses are being told to get rid of products that were purchased prior to the vaping ban. Those business owners are now losing money and are at risk of potentially losing jobs, which leads to unemployment, the inability to support their family, pay their bills and in some cases depression. If someone has been told and made aware that a product could potentially kill them, then they have been warned and should be free to make a decision to use it or not.

  64. The temporary ban sits well with me. Let’s try the precautionary principle for once. You can compare vaping to any other legal or acceptable but harmful activity, but that’s not very worthwhile – it’s okay, and never too late, to take action on something harmful.

    Between predatory marketing practices on young people, deaths in 10 states and so many new small businesses who probably don’t know what kind of adulterated products they’re bringing in to sell, I think it’s okay to do some research.

    From what I’ve read, it’s up to towns to enforce the ban on retailers, so hey, keep trying to buy the products if you think your town will look the other way.
    By the way, I truly am sorry that it affects medical marijuana patients, and hopefully they can reverse that piece.

  65. I understand what Governor Baker is trying to do but I think it’s a bit short-sighted and misguided. As someone who used vaping to quit smoking, I can attest to the fact that it works for that purpose. I can also attest to the fact that when I quit vaping it was because it felt like vaping was doing considerably more damage to my lungs than cigarettes ever did. Thankfully, I’ve now quit both.

    That having been said, making your own “vape juice” is easy enough to do, and easy enough to screw up, that the problem will very likely get worse and not better.

  66. I don’t have a horse in this race, but I do know that people that want it are just going to go to New Hampshire – just like we did for beer on Sunday until a few years ago – or to Rhode Island or Connecticut.

    We don’t outright ban cigarettes, because they don’t make people sick instantly. We don’t outright ban cars, despite the fact that more than 350 people died in 2017 from automobiles. I could name quite a few other things we don’t ban despite them causing hundreds of fatalities each year in Massachusetts.

    So what has the ban really solved? Other than to put a few Massachusetts businesses out of business? A few jobs. A little bit of tax revenue.

    I don’t get it.

  67. I never smoked cigarettes and I certainly would never vape. I am 73 years old. I watched my father suffer from lung cancer and brain cancer and he died at the age of 59 on my 21st birthday. I desperately tried to get him to stop smoking he smoked three packs of Camels a day ( I remember the commercials from the tobacco companies, with supposed doctors saying that smoking was not a health hazard, they are probably all dead). When my father was told he had lung cancer he stopped smoking that day, unfortunately, it was too late and he died in less than a year. I wished that the tobacco companies would have gone out of business and still do. Cigarettes should have been banned many years ago I commend CVS for stopping selling tobacco products. I am a Veteran and escort veterans to and from VA hospitals. I have noticed that the veterans who smoke remind me of my father and I encourage them to stop smoking. Vaping is as disgusting a habit as smoking and should have never been invented and should certainly be banned forever.

  68. First off, a Public Health Crises was announced, after, per the news accounts, the Governor met with leading health experts. So I think we all need to allow that this was not done in some dictatorial way. I think the Governor made a careful decision after detailed discussions re the ins and outs of a ban.
    Secondly there are alternatives for smokers. As a ex smoker myself, have been for near 15 years, I know those alternatives work.
    Thirdly, use of vaping does not really seem to contain the need for nicotine. If it did, use of vaping, I would think, would decrease. As smoking has decreased, smokers needing help to get off nicotine would be less or should be less. NOT more. So it does appear to me vaping became such a big business it actually rivaled cigarettes! That sort of shows the lie this product really is producing any positive results. It may indeed be increasing addictions!
    Fourth, this is a product that got on the market before any real study was done on its effects. And clearly the addition of all sorts of contents within a vaping device, often unknowns, you are buying a very dogey product that may in fact do real harm, just as bad street drugs are doing and have done for so many. At the very least a chance to study and learn what is causing disease and death ought to be given. Four months may not be enough but maybe scientists will be able to give some answers where at present we know zilch!
    So lastly, the Governors ban was not done lightly, and we need as a society, all of us, to recognize the real need to get some answers before moving forward with allowing vaping. Yes people will buy it on the black market, or go to NH to get it. But people always do very stupid things and it really is hard to outlaw stupidity. But that does not mean we should not officially close off the sale of an apparent dangerous product ’till we know more about it. People are still free to be stupid.

  69. If you have ever run 5 miles and enjoyed it, you will naturally avoid inhaling toxic vapor. Protect your lungs and neither smoking policy nor the vaping ban will have any effect on you.

  70. I’m not in agreement with the ban on vaping. It’s a bandaid solution for a complex issue. What happens when the ban ends? And what about the merchants left with monetary losses due to the ban. This could lead to a black market which will provide illicit vaping products.

  71. Good for Governor Baker! I am glad to see he is Pro-Active in putting a ban on Vaping as harm continues to occur to our young until we know more, even if it is only temporary.

  72. The immediate total ban on selling all vaping products for all ages is too extreme. The illnesses and the 7 deaths attributed to vaping so far, is far less than from smoking. I think that banning the flavored vaping products is a reasonable compromise. There are so many different ones, they will probably never determine the safety or harmfulness of them all anyhow, with the exception of menthol which has been used a lot in cigarettes already.

  73. I agree with the governor if it is a health hazard and they are unsure if it’s safe, then yes pull it, why wait until more people get sick.

  74. Listen, people have died & that’s horrible. However, they aren’t dying from smoking THC/CBD oil from legit dispensaries. They are dying because stores like 7/11 or your local smoke shop(not dispensary) are selling what they claim is CBD. The only places that have legit THC/CBD are the dispensaries the state approved. So here we have a case of a bad apple ruining the bunch. The ban should only be for non state approved facilities. This ban is hurting patients who rely on CBD to treat serious ailments. Governor Baker has gone too far in a total ban and should rescind and reissue a ban on non state approved sales of THC/CBD vaping products. He’s lost my vote because of this.

  75. This is a difficult issue to assess to which I do not think there is a simple solution. One obvious question about Governor Baker’s ban is what we will know four months from now that will give us a better basis or more evidence on which to formulate a durable policy? It will take years before we will understand and appreciate the long-term effects of vaping., assuming that the idea of relying on science and scientists to provide evidence on which to base our decisions has not been entirely rejected by then. On one hand, e-cigarettes seem to be less dangerous than traditional cigarettes or a lesser evil so pragmatism says it is better to have them available. On the other hand e-cigarettes are probably not risk-free in terms of their users’ health, so we should try to distinguish between persuading young people not to start using them, while encouraging existing smokers to switch to them if they cannot quit smoking entirely. This line of thinking brings us to the question of marketing.

    The marketing of e-cigarettes is very questionable and I have little doubt that the executives of the companies involved, like the Philip Morris (now Altria) of old, have few moral or other scruples preventing them from pushing their products in their own personal interests as well as those of their companies regardless of other considerations. It is unclear whether the illnesses reported that have been linked to vaping are the result of chemicals added by third parties rather than the manufacturers’ products themselves. It is significant that Altria has taken a stake in the leading e-cigarette company Juul (does it expect that this company will become the Juul in their Crown?).

    Reports of the significant use of vaping by high school students, i.e. new smokers, are very disturbing, and it seems that this trend is encouraged by the sweet and dessert-flavored varieties. So it seems to me that a more nuanced approach to vaping, rather than an outright ban makes more sense, including banning flavored vapes and cracking down on how e-cigarettes are advertised and marketing. Social media companies also have a role to play in trying to eliminate messages that are deemed to be dangerously misleading about vaping products in addition to certain other kinds of content and videos. Unfortunately we cannot rely on the decency, responsibility or self-regulation of suppliers to protect vaping consumers so serious controls are needed. But they should be wielded like a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, recognizing the power of addictive products and even the attraction of indulging in an activity that is banned. As for Governor Baker’s ban, the immediate questions are, (a) What may happen (as noted) after the 4 months are up, and (b) if New Hampshire does nothing in the spirit of Live Free Or (And?) Die, how effective is the ban likely to be?

  76. I’m reaching the conclusion that action was needed but this action is way too broad. Providing an exception for medical marijuana patients would have been a reasonable compromise. Also, I’m hearing that the vaping ban includes the sale of devices for vaporizing marijuana in its dry flower form, which seems entirely ridiculous, since all reports of vaping illness have been associated with vaping oil only.

  77. Trying to prove the danger is a waste of time and money. Guarantee that the products are correctly labeled and sourced from regulated markets that have to tell the truth about what’s in there. Have the ability to find and eliminate the liars, the cheats, and the mistakes.
    Forget the danger. The list of legal dangerous products is huge. Folks make their/our own decisions on those. Education always tries but often fails. That’s the story of the ages.

  78. This ban is simply bad public health policy; the end result will be to shift the sale of THC vapes back to the black market, while hurting the patients who need THC concentrates from Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs) for symptom relief. It will also create knockoff, black market products of both THC and nicotine vape products, hurting both medical and recreational users alike.

    This move is particularly concerning as it affects medical patients in the Commonwealth’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program; patients with cancer, wasting syndromes, multiple sclerosis, and agoraphobia. Unless there is some as of yet unreleased data, there have been no reported cases of lung disease associated with legally purchased THC vape products in Massachusetts, and only one from an RMD nationwide. Of the total cases reported in public data, to our awareness, only a single case is associated with a product produced by a Regulated Marijuana Dispensary (in Oregon).

    Again, a ban on regulated THC vape products will have no effect whatsoever on the actual problem, which is black market THC products. Recent CDC data confirms this interpretation. Once again, it will worsen the problem as those now purchasing these products from the regulated market will move to black market products.

    Recent media reports have centered around counterfeit and illicit THC product pipelines; this ban won’t address that, and will increase demand for Chinese and Cartel manufactured products.

    This decision by the Governor, and the decision by the Public Health Council to approve it, is a reflexive, counterproductive decision that is not based in science or the evidence we have to date.

  79. I am torn about this as well. I am concerned about the reports of lung injuries from vaping, but for now it’s not clear how widespread the problem is or which vaping products cause it. My concern about a blanket ban is that it will almost certainly cause many vapers to switch to conventional smoking, which is known to be very dangerous (and a leading cause of death). I’m also concerned that blanket ban will make it harder to figure out what exactly is causing this illness and how it can be stopped. In the end, smoking and vaping are probably both dangerous to some extent and we should be thinking about how to minimize the total harm with the information we have.

  80. Given that the federal health authorities did not do their job before these products hit the market, it is now left to the states, again, to pick up the pieces. I’m always uneasy about “nanny state” interference in personal choices but this appears to be a case of public health concern. The issue remains: How will a permanent decision be made and by whom?

  81. Hi Will,
    Good seeing you if only briefly at Siobhan and Shelley’s shindig Saturday.
    Regarding Gov. Baker’s decision:
    Small shop owners need compensation for these four months so that they will not go bankrupt.

  82. I totally support the ban. It is so sad to see human beings are relying on chemicals to get by. Similar to the opiod war in China 140 years ago. The difference is that this time is the rich American’s getting addicted to Vaping, THC and synthetic drugs.

    Very sad to see this. This does not bode well.

  83. Vaping in general is a complicated situation from a public health perspective. On the one hand, I don’t think that any reasonable person could argue that vaping is better than not vaping in the absence of all other factors. Lungs are designed to breathe air, and only air. But there are numerous other factors, and it is equally clear that vaping is better than smoking combustible cigarettes, both for users and for the environment.

    Use among teenagers is definitely worrying, and a “safer than cigarettes =/= safe” campaign is absolutely needed. I think there’s also some merit to the argument that the social stigma against vaping isn’t nearly as high as the stigma against cigarettes and tobacco, which could increase the number of nicotine users in general, which is not good since nicotine is a highly addictive and potentially carcinogenic stimulant. But the best solution is probably to officially legally group vaping and e-cigarettes with combustible cigarettes and tobacco.

    The main difference between combustible and e-cigarettes from a public health law perspective is probably that much of the legal ability to regulate cigarette smoking in public derives from the idea of second-hand smoking, i.e. it isn’t just hurting you, therefore the government can regulate for the purposes of protecting the public. This does not apply to vaping, and therefore may mean that e-cigarettes cannot legally be restricted in public places by the government.

    According to research by Juul, people who use vaping as a tool for smoking cessation are several times more likely to succeed than people who use other nicotine replacement tools, and many eventually kick their nicotine addictions and stop vaping entirely. This is certainly biased, and further research is absolutely needed, but I think it would be a greater public health harm than good to ban vaping.

    Frankly, I would’ve used the current situation to somehow say that e-cigarettes/vaping are legally considered the same as combustible cigarettes/tobacco products, rather than ban vaping. That would put stronger restrictions of vaping, including selling to minors, enable smoking cessation resources to go to vaping cessation as well, and make it difficult to vape in public to the same extent (thereby maintaining the stigma). If they’re tied together closely enough, we might even be able to prevent vaping companies from arguing that they can’t be regulated in the same way because they don’t have the same results of second hand smoke, at least for a few years.

  84. The lack of FDA oversight. The power of the producers to lobby for laws in their favor. The addictiveness that has been demonstrated. These all point to a ton of money going toward healthcare costs. Even if I can’t understand scientific papers, I do know where there is (vape) smoke, there’s fire. These things, in my mind, merit Gov. Baker’s pumping the brakes on the sale of vape cartridges until we have more of a chance for independent research and useful empirical evidence.

  85. Late to the party, but I am totally against this ban for a number of reasons.

    1. We should not grant the government emergency powers except as a last resort to an existential threat. This is not Pearl Harbor or an alien invasion. It’s a poorly understood illness that has affected a few hundred people in a country of 350 million. All of these people have voluntarily consumed a substance any reasonable person would understand to be risky. How is this a crisis compared with any number of other modern problems? I want to vote for my government and have their actions constrained by clear laws. Every “public health emergency” is a step in the wrong direction.

    2. Personal choice. Adults should have the freedom to ingest whatever substances they see fit. Government should focus solely on making sure products contain what is advertised and enforcing age related restrictions.

    3. A ban helps the black market and punishes legitimate purveyors. The morning the ban was announced, every black market cartridge seller in the state woke up in a great mood with an inbox full of orders. Meanwhile, dispensary owners who had jumped through every hoop and taken considerable risk in order to participate in the legal market were forced to pull the (government tested and approved!) product off their shelves and in some cases, close their doors. It’s a familiar echo of practically every War on Drugs policy, and all so our governor could score some quick political points and be seen to be “doing something” about this “crisis”.

    The vaping cat is out of the bag, and it’s not going back in. Do we need more research into safety and long-term effects? Definitely. Even more, we need a regulatory and commercial structure that encourages legitimate players to prioritize their own customers’ health and minimizes the black market.

    I voted for this current administration but cannot see myself doing so again. Just say no to emergency powers.

  86. I came from a family with two close relatives deceased from smoking related cancer. And I can’t over-state how dangerous this kinds of products are. (And especially to the youth)
    Sadly, these specially interest groups are too powerful in pushing our legislative body to legalize these addictive (drug) products (THC, WEED, Vaping) based on the sole concern of profitability.

  87. I personally think the ban is pointless. The only reason that it is actually killing people, is because those are the people who are smoking 2 packs of pods a day. What is the point of having a temporary ban? Because as soon as it is over, people are just going to do it again. Juuling or using any kind of vape products is a choice or risk. If they choose to make that risk, that is on them. It is hard to break away from addiction but it is a choice at first.

  88. i think the ban is great and worth it, only if they find out whats killing these people. it would be better if cigs were gone completely as those over the years almost gurentee you cancer if you keep up. but overall its a good move for people to stop.

  89. I believe the ban of vaping products is not a smart idea, because vaping was originally made for cigarette smokers to slow down and stop smoking. If a kid wants to vape and ruin his lungs it’s their problem. But I don’t think it should be taken from someone that is using it for a reason.

  90. I don’t have much to say about this whole thing so I’m kind of neutral about the ban. I’m not saying that I am okay with vaping. I know what it does to people. I get why they banned it because it’s negatively affecting people’s health but I don’t know too much about it so it’s hard to have an opinion on it. I think no matter what people are going to continue to do it and find a way to get the things they need for the vapes.

  91. I believe that this ban is a smart and important decision to make. As a high school student, seeing the everyday major affects that vaping has on my peers, it scares me on how addictive and destructive these products are to people my age. I think it will be interesting to see how people will react to the absence of these products. I have never tried vaping, because i’ve never been attracted to the idea of destroying my lungs. I hope that this ban will be an eye opener in seeing how addictive vaping really is.

  92. The vaping ban could be a good and bad thing for people in Massachusetts. Kids could be going to worse things like cigarettes and dip. Kids could also be on the way to losing the addiction of nicotine, but it has been too long so kids will now have withdrawals and it will be bad

  93. It’s a good idea for the underage people but for the people who actually use it to quit is unfortunate but also what is going to stop these kids from going a state over to buy pods that is 45 minutes away or even other people ordering them online. I have mixed feelings about it because there is always going to be a way to get them.

  94. It’s a good idea for the underage people but for the people who actually use it to quit is unfortunate but also what is going to stop these kids from going a state over to buy pods that is 45 minutes away or even other people ordering them online. I have mixed feelings about it because there is always going to be a way to get them.

  95. The vaping ban is only for four months and is meant to just give people time to investigate what’s going in terms of the deaths. I think we can be sensible enough to wait it out for a good cause.

  96. I think they have reason to ban, but I wish they would just regulate vaping more. I’ve also heard the tobacco industry had something to do with this which I 100% believe. Ultimately I think this is just going to create a black market need for this product.

  97. I think Govr Baker was correct in banning the use of vaping products in MA. I think he was correct because most of the people are getting lung-related issues because of vaping and some people are actually dying because of them. He is only banning them to give the doctors more time to look into the health concerns with vaping products.
    I don’t like the amount of people who are going to go out and buy them illegally is going to be that high. I would hope that people would respect the ban and wait to get them in January. They are giving people free patches to help with nicotine related things.

  98. I think the ban is a both a good and bad Idea. I think it is a good idea because many teens are getting addicted to vaping. I also think its a bad idea because kids might start smoking cigarettes.

  99. Medical marijuana patients are now flooding Maine. Whatever you think about over the counter vaping, preemptive bans, other these are the facts.
    We legalized cannabis for a reason, for adults and the gatekeeping isn’t debated.

  100. The ban by the Governor is insanely overreactionary. This is not the way to score political points, nor a way to act smartly from a public health perspective. Let’s be real: there is scant evidence about the vaping health issues, little to no research — and yet, the Governor decides to ban all vaping products (including distillate cartridges being sold at medical marijuana dispensaries).

    How many Americans died of lung cancer and how many years of research went into the Surgeon General’s warning being placed on cigarette packs? (I ask this somewhat rhetorically, as I do not know these exact answers, but it doesn’t compare *at all* to the vape hysteria). And AFTER the Surgeon General’s warning was placed, they continued to sell cigarettes, as they do to this day.

    Did Governor Baker take advice from anyone on his rash, ridiculous decision?

    He needs to rethink the entire thing, and pull back the ban IMMEDIATELY.

    Shame on him for being so rash and ill-informed. I’m embarrassed to be associated with such reactionary governance. I hope the legislature can approach this issue in a more measured, reasoned way.

    Will Brownsberger for Governor.

  101. The reported data in the NEJM and by the CDC shows that almost all patients with acute vaping related lung injury are hospitalized and nearly 1/3 end up on a ventilator. Many are in their teens and twenties. I have colleagues who have managed cases in New England and have had patients require mechanical ventilation for a week and have fortunately survived.

    Although the harm reduction associated with vaping has some promise (it’s “not as bad as regular cigarette smoking”) and some evidence it may help people quit smoking, cigarettes are not associated with sudden onset and potentially lethal illness in otherwise healthy young people.

    Until this is better understood, thus allowing the products not associated with acute lung injury back onto a more regulated market, the ban is a sound short term public health maneuver.

  102. Public health must come before an option for public pleasure or the illusion of it.
    1. there is no health benefit of vaping that can’t be obtained in other ways. Anyone who says otherwise is financially motivated.
    2. There was not proper investigation into the potential harm. Like cigarettes it’s a self harm device that should not be so readily available. Smoke is harmful and unnecessary period.
    3. your comment “thousands of Massachusetts vaping users may turn to riskier sources of product and continue vaping through the ban, it seems likely that the ban may result in increased disease and death.” is a speculative excuse to avoid taking responsibility for making sure unhealthy practices are not accepted and encouraged. What next, will we have to go back to dealing with cigarette smoke in restaurants again? Vaping should never have been allowed to begin with under the non existent over-site.

  103. Dear State Senator Brownsberger,

    This is an eloquent and well put statement. I personally am very much opposed to Vaping, and see it as a public health and medical concern to the Commonwealth. However, your statement brings up legitimate concerns over unintended consequences, and offers an alternative solution. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

  104. I’ve commented before but more opinions have been expressed:

    I’m impressed with the thoughtfulness of many responders especially those who know about this specific situation as opposed to those who want to grand stand, push their agendas, and rewrite science. I see many people making grand sweeping statements as if we were rewriting the entire FDA, CDC, and Corporate history when in fact I believe we were asked about this current ban: those harmed specifically at this moment. (Or perhaps there’s blood in the water eh?) Is this a legitimate health concern? Are we ruining businesses? Have we jumped the gun in being first in the nation to prohibit substances that even the CDC isn’t saying we should yet?

    If you wish to work and advocate for larger medical issues (the evils of various behaviors and whether we control or ban those) go ahead.
    I understood the question to be about this current moratorium: the pros and cons. Instead I’ve heard soap boxing by people who argue emotionally in an attempt to sway.. what exactly? If you want to implement the laws already in place do so. If you really want to ban cigarettes, cannabis and any other bug bears get out and make it happen. These were legally accepted mandates. I am saddened by comments from people who do not actually know people involved in Medical cannabis, reminds me off the many towns & cities who woke up to the fact that we would not be keeping it “out there in some other town” away from our impressionable children.

    If we’re going to get hysterical about what is a relatively low incidence of illness it’s incumbent on us to wait for the facts. These rants tinged with moral philosophy merely muddy the outcome we need now. We need data. We need to find out why now? What’s a common factor? Is there a link with legal cannabis? (Absolutely no evidence of anyone getting sick from regulated cannabis) is there a common link between street Vapes of cannabis and nicotine? What is the correlation between illness and access? If chemicals in Vapes are inherently poison and not just the “whipped up in a garage” versions (huge $ in the black market) let’s find out. If an “epidemic” such as this shows up so suddenly are we actually going to claim “it’s always been around we just misdiagnosed it?” We’re not talking about some spectrum of disease we renamed or was under reported like autism. We are talking about patient reporting – always a dangerous way to base conclusions on.
    But it’s a health issue! So are cars, bikes, bus exhaust, organophosphates, lead in water. Let’s not let our paranoia over one possible health alarm obliterate logic and perspective. Let’s not replay our horrors of Oxycodone because white people died and thus prevent any use of a painkiller. As I said before police your own children don’t push it on adults, the school system or the police. This is the current topic of the “dangers to teenagers” yet I’ve seen frightening choices made by teens here in Belmont & Cambridge that their parents are Clueless about. “But my kids tell me everything!” “My kids tell me nothing!” Well they told Me, they came to me, and I took care of them, empathized and protected them.
    You all have a Lot more to worry about than the panic of the week.

    Rereading Senator Brownsburger’s original facts, suppositions, various arguments (which I hope you all will do) I was struck several times by the profound illogic of the essay: saying we should focus on X not Y and then a few paragraphs later doing exactly the opposite. It might be more useful to avoid rehashing all the pros, cons, ramifications of a larger societal issue when we were supposed to weigh in on how we felt about Governor Baker’s current moratorium.
    Major stores such as Walmart have “taken a stand” which should be nice for the underground market.
    Did we not learn anything from Prohibition? Every single argument I’ve read here can be applied except for our acknowledgement that cannabis has Important health benefits.
    I read intelligent science based comments by clearly knowledgeable people. Then they were followed by tangential arguments based on irrelevant details: as I said Change the world on your own time, don’t show your “social activism” and deeply held beliefs in punitive ways.
    The kids at Mock Trial would have a field day with this.
    Respectfully yours.
    Claire DeVore

  105. The vaping industry that was legalized on the basis that it would provide a way of lessening the harmful of effects of nicotine addiction. Currently, the industry seems to be busy creating a new class of nicotine addicts.

    As much as Sen. Brownsberger’s legal analyses are thorough and well reasoned, I feel that the state has been the victim of something of a social bait-and-switch scam.

    Hence, the ban seems reasonable to me, especially since it may slow down the creation of teen-age nicotine addicts.

  106. Update by Forbes:

    In response to the wave of vape-related illnesses, NBC News took cartridges purchased in California dispensaries and knock-off cartridges purchased from unlicensed delivery services and brought them to CannaSafe, an accredited testing lab. The results were troubling, and only reinforce why these bans are destined to fail. All the illicit-market products contained dangerous substances like pesticides and hydrogen cyanide, a byproduct created by myclobutanil-based fungicides like Eagle 20, which is banned for use on plants grown for human consumption, including in every legal cannabis medical marijuana market in the country. None of these contaminants were found in the legally produced products that CannaSafe testedThe use of pesticides and fungicides, some of which are not safe for human consumption, lead to higher yields and healthier looking plants. But the use of these substances is worrisome because when the raw flower is concentrated into oil, the biomass is reduced, but not the pesticide load. What that means is that not only is the THC concentrated, but the pesticides are too—and in the case of myclobutanil-based substances, they turn into cyanide when combusted. There’s more but it’s too late to teach people Science.

  107. As a high school student, living with the experience of “e cigs” I support Govern Bakers decision on the ban. I agree with the ban because many people around me who I know go through 2-3 packs a day. They are killing themselves just for the pleasure of a simple and easy “head-rush”. Seeing how the ban has taken affect and how many are still trying to figure out ways of how to get the vape is very concerning.

  108. Investigators believe that the substance has been added to e-cigarette products as a thickener, and is particularly attractive to people manufacturing illicit products because it resembles tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil. THC is the substance in marijuana that provides a high. CDC

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