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Montana vape shop responds to state temporary ban on e-cigarette sales

Shop owners say business will be forced to close
Posted: 10:12 AM, Oct 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-09 12:20:31-04

Governor Steve Bullock filed emergency rules calling for the temporary ban of flavored e-cigarette sales on Tuesday following a case out of Gallatin County

MTN News spoke with health department officials and a vape shop that will be directly impacted to show us what this means.

“These vapes out there really carry some serious health risks," says Matt Kelley, health officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

According to Kelley, we now have a front-door example.

“It’s kind of the wild west out there in terms of vapes," Kelley explained. "Anybody can sell them. Anybody can make them.”

As of this month, Kelley adds there are over 1,000 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-associated pulmonary illness related to e-cigarettes.

Two now in Montana, one in Yellowstone County, the other confirmed Tuesday in Gallatin County, prompting a response from Governor Steve Bullock.

“Young Montanans are using e-cigarettes at an alarming rate," Bullock said. "Today, I choose action.”

The emergency rules impact all flavored vaping and e-cigarette products, both sold online and in stores, for 120 days.

“If this ban passes, it puts all of those shops out of business," Deanna Marshall, co-owner of Freedom Vapes, told MTN News.

We met Ron Marshall at his Bozeman vape shop, Freedom Vapes, in September.

On Tuesday, we caught with him and his wife, Deanna, on the road – and now they are concerned.

“You’re banning flavored nicotine vaping products because of an illegal substance on the street," Ron said. "It doesn’t make any sense.”

The Marshall's, who run the business here out of Bozeman say this will almost certainly mean their open signs will have to go off.

"People who have risked everything to open these shops to help adults quit smoking are now going to be on the unemployment line," Deanna said.

“I have 12 employees. I will have to lay them all off and these employees are buying homes and buying cars,” she added. What’s going to happen to them?”

According to the ban, anyone who would violate the rules could be charged with a misdemeanor. Kelley says with kids sneaking the habit, the issues are real.

As for the Marshall’s, they ask at what cost? “You only get one set of lungs and you should take care of them," Kelley said.

“There will be lawsuits," Ron said. "Attorneys have already been contacted and there will be challenges. You cannot blame one thing on another.”