Utah joins lengthening list of state courts temporarily halting vaping bans
Third District Court Judge Keith Kelly has issued a temporary injunction against a statewide ban on flavored vapor products issued on October 2 by the Utah Department of Health. The emergency rule was originally implemented in response to the growing public hysteria over a so-called vaping-related lung disorder plaguing the nation.
The judge’s restraining order went into effect on Monday at 8 am and will remain in effect only until November 22. In his public ruling, Judge Kelly said, “I conclude the Health Department did not comply with Utah code.” Kelly then ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, local vape shop owners who allege that a Utah vaping ban will cause irreparable harm to their businesses and smokers trying to quit through vaping.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Juan Bravo, told Salt Lake City’s Channel KSL, “The public health crisis in not related to…the products that my clients sell. If it were, then we would not have been [in court] in the first place.” Mr. Bravo is referring to the public press releases in recent weeks by the FDA and the CDC which warn consumers to avoid Black Market and THC-containing vapor products rather than the conventional nicotine-based e-liquids typically sold in vape shops.
Iowa and Tennessee put the kibosh on notions of statewide vaping bans
What’s happening in Utah is becoming a growing trend nationwide as local businesses continue to fight state-sanctioned vaping bans that they feel unfairly target their products. Just in the past month, courts in New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts have issued similar temporary injunctions against governor-imposed flavor bans initiated through executive order.
This series of judicial overturns has prompted the state governors of Iowa and Tennessee to rethink their plans to implement similar anti-flavor executive actions. On the same day as the Utah ruling, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee withdrew his intentions to implement a statewide vaping ban by saying during a Nashville event, "There's not a clear understanding about exactly what is causing the deaths."
Also immediately following the Utah ruling, Iowa Gov. Kim Richards announced that she will not be signing an executive order to ban flavored vapes either. "I think right now, we're going to focus on maybe some other things that we can do," Richards told The Des Moines Register.
(Image courtesy of Salt Lake City’s Channel KSL)