Massachusetts Gov caves to ‘vaping-related’ hysteria; bans vape sales for 4-months
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (Rep) declared a statewide public health emergency and ordered a 4-month prohibition on the sales of vapor products. The move is preceded by similar gubernatorial actions taking place in New York and Michigan in the preceding weeks, but Baker’s ban will include tobacco-flavored and marijuana-infused products, as well.
Another striking difference is that the Massachusetts moratorium is being initiated by a Republican governor unlike his Democratic counterparts of New York’s Cuomo and Michigan’s Whitmer. Baker is the first politician from the other side of the aisle to take such an aggressive anti-vaping stance since President Trump first announced his intentions to implement a federal ban on flavored vapes during a White House press conference on September 11.
Gov. Baker make be trying to walk a very fine line here. Public outcry over the “vaping-related” lung debacle is growing, largely because the national panic is being increasingly fueled by grossly inaccurate headlines from mainstream and social media. Meanwhile, Baker’s Republican Party tends to avoid supporting Nanny State legislation of any kind– like the banning of specific e-cigarette products, for example.
Anti-vaping political pressure on the rise in Massachusetts
This convergence of political demands may be why the Massachusetts governor is issuing a significantly shorter 4-month prohibition period but on a broader range of vapor products. The inclusion of marijuana-enhanced vapes is noteworthy because several public health experts have identified the likely cause for the outbreak of mysterious respiratory ailments to be directly linked to the illegal use of Black Market THC cartridges. Shortly after the Baker announcement, the governor issued the following statement according to NBC News
"We as a commonwealth need to pause sales in order for our medical experts to collect more information about what is driving these life-threatening vaping-related illnesses. We also need to better understand the inherent dangers of vaping both nicotine and marijuana."
Baker is under political pressure from his constituents to do something -anything – about the “vaping-linked” health crisis after the reported number of possibly related medical diagnoses statewide has recently risen to 61. While the evidence is becoming infinitely clearer that contraband vapor products containing cannabis-derived THC enhancements are the true public health threat rather than the vaping of FDA-regulated nicotine e-liquids, Baker was facing an almost impossible choice.
Should he only ban the sales of THC-enhanced vapor products and leave FDA-regulated nicotine vapes untouched, which the science suggests would be the fair and justifiable approach? Or should he simply place a 4-month “pause” on the sales of all vapor products in the hopes that the anti-vaping hysteria will eventually subside? Baker seems to have chosen the latter.