Governor Steve Bullock and his Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reminded Montanans in a notice dated Feb. 19 that the governor’s ban on flavored vaping products is still in effect until April 15 of this year. The notice, posted on the state’s website, also encourages the public to snitch on retailers who are selling the product.
Governor Bullock exercised his executive power to issue a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in October, piggy-backing on a spate of rulings in nanny-states on the East Coast. Upon the suggestion that youth are drawn to the novelty-flavored vaping products in particular, Bullock banned the products despite underaged teenagers not being allowed to purchase the product under federal law. Bullock, who vetoed House Bill 500 in 2019 which would ban abortion of “pain-capable” unborn children, banned the vaping products in order to “protect kids.”
The ban initially received a restraining order from Ravalli County District Judge Jennifer Lint, in response to vape shop owners arguing that customers have to be 21 to even enter their store. She later ruled in favor of the governor, however.
It appears the governor’s emergency ban will expire and not be immediately reissued. The anti-vaping hysteria has largely been debunked nationwide, and although the move endeared Bullock to big-government leftists during his ill-fated Democratic presidential primary run (he withdrew in December), statistics demonstrate that almost all vaping-related illnesses are caused by black-market THC or cannabis products and not industry-standard consumer goods.
Only 8 have been made ill by vaping in Montana, with only one death, and all were related to the home-made black market products not available by retailers.
In the meantime, the effort to protect Montana children from an epidemic that causes more than 1,500 deaths each year continues. Although Bullock has vetoed every effort to curb abortion in the Big Sky State, many voters are optimistic that an incoming Republican governor will place limitations on a practice that actually does cause death to human beings.