BOSTON — From business owners, to medical marijuana patients, to smokers trying to quit, the vaping ban in Massachusetts is impacting people all across the Commonwealth.
On Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and announced that vaping products, including both tobacco and marijuana-infused ones, are banned until at least January 2020.
He says the goal of the temporary ban is to allow medical experts to collect more information about what he calls an outbreak of severe lung disease associated with vaping products.
It's only been two days since Baker announced the ban, but some business owners are already fearing they might go out of business.
"This was my dream, but I'm losing now."
Dinesh Patel opened up his South Boston smoke shop three years ago. He came to Boston from his native country of India to start the American Dream and hoped to have a thriving business to support his family and small children. But now, his store shelves are nearly empty and he's not allowed to sell vaping fluids, cartridges, and other accessories.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in the last week alone, there have been hundreds of new cases of vaping-related lung disease. So far, the CDC says more than 500 people have been sick and 12 deaths have been reported in the country.
"For us to put a pause on this, so that people can do the work to continue to figure out exactly what it is about vaping, the problem is which by the way is debilitating in some cases fatal. We felt that it was important to put a temporary ban," said Baker.
Massachusetts was the first state to issue an outright ban on the sale of vaping products but other states are now discussing their own bans. On Wednesday, Rhode Island banned flavored products and both Vermont and Maine are considering banning vaping products, as well.
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