Judge denies restraining order, vape ban in Washington state stands

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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Flavored vape juice will remain banned in Washington state after a judge denied a temporary restraining order on Friday.

The lawsuit, filed by The Vapor Technology Association and Baron Enterprises LLC, was filed against the Washington State Board Of Health and the Department of Health shortly after the Washington Board of Health approved an emergency ban on flavored vape juice on Oct. 9. The ban is set to last 120 days. Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order that directed the Washington State Department of Health to request the state’s board of health to adopt the emergency ban.

The Spokesman-Review reported Thurston County Judge Chris Lanese denied requests for a temporary restraining order on Friday from vape advocates. The next court hearing is scheduled for February, according to The Spokesman-Review.

The Washington State Department of Health says the temporary ban on flavored vape juice is needed to stop children from vaping.

“The ban of flavored vapor products is necessary to immediately prevent more youth from being attracted to vaping and putting themselves at risk for severe lung injury, as well as nicotine addiction,” The Washington State Department of Health stated via The Spokesman-Review. “Adults who choose to continue using vapor products have the freedom to choose tobacco-flavored vapor products from licensed retailers, as tobacco-flavored vapor products remain on the market legally.”

Margo Ross, the owner of Cloud 509 in Moses Lake, said she felt discouraged after Friday’s ruling but vowed to continue supporting the vape industry.

“They denied our restraining order. We’re still in a ban in Washington state. This hurts my heart. In the last two weeks, I have seen many of my friends as shop owners closed down the month before it took us to get to that court date. I saw many more of my friends shut down. I don’t what’s gonna happen,” Ross said Friday afternoon on social media.

Holding back tears, Ross said the ban is causing small businesses in Washington state to go under.

“This is ridiculous. Everybody else has gotten their temporary restraining orders or where they’ve had the ban overturned. We’re not able to get that in Washington state. The VTA, which is the Vapor Technology Association, they are working hard for us, but they have not been able to get the ban overturned for us. It’s causing a lot of small businesses to go under. It’s causing a lot of consumers to go back to smoking, which please don’t do that. Find your juice any way that you can,” she said.

She continued, “I have built my business for the past almost two years and I’m watching it go down in flames because of our government. I have fought and fought for my consumers, for you guys, and my fellow business owners, right alongside of them. And I’m really discouraged right now. I am so discouraged. We’re still gonna fight, but I’m really discouraged. Just keep supporting your local shops. That’s all I can say. Because your local shop owners, they have worked hard for you and we have worked hard to keep our businesses open. That’s all. I don’t, I don’t know what else to say.”

On the national side, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House the government might raise the age-limit on e-cigarette use to 21.

“We’re going to be coming out with a very important position on vaping,” Trump said, according to CNBC. “We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so, so we’ll be coming out with something next week very important on vaping.”

The White House is expected to announce an official policy on e-cigarettes this week.

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