• July 9, 2020

Montana Vape Shop Owners Plan to Challenge Proposed Ban

Credit: Sarah J

The state health department wants to resurrect a ban on flavored e-cigarette sales in Montana. A temporary ban enacted late last year expired several months ago, and now the agency wants to permanently ban the sale of almost all flavored e-cigarette products, according to an article by Montana Public Radio.

Some Montana vape retailers are vowing to push back hard on the idea, leading to what may be the next legal battleground between those retailers and the administration of Gov. Steve Bullock, according to the story.

Last November, Massachusetts became the first to roll out restrictions of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island followed suit this year with bans on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

The proposal is being applauded by health officials and excoriated by industry businesses.

“I have a legal product in the state of Montana, a product that helps people,” Deanna Marshall said. “I am not going to stop selling this product.” Deanna and her husband Ron own Freedom Vapes, an independent e-cig retailer with stores in Bozeman, Belgrade and Hamilton.

“They can fine me, arrest me — whatever they have to do,” she said. “I’m going to keep selling it, and we’ll go to court then.” It wouldn’t be the first time the Marshalls and the local trade organization they belong to, the Montana Smoke Free Association, have squared off against the state health department.

Last fall, they sued to block the Bullock administration’s temporary ban on flavored vaping products. A district judge eventually upheld the ban.