WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A national non-profit industry trade association and a Washington vape shop have filed a lawsuit against the state in an effort to stop the ban on flavored vapor products.
The suit filed by Vapor Technology Association (VTA) and Baron Enterprises LLC (aka 'The Vaporium') aims to declare the state's emergency ruling on vaping “invalid.”
Baron Enterprises operates in several Pierce County locations. The company is a member of the Vapor Technology Association.
Earlier in October, the Washington State Department of Health and the State Board of Health put an emergency ban on the sale, purchase and advertisement of flavored vapor products.
The ban will extend until Feb. 7, 2020.
In the petition documents, VTA said that the emergency rule would destroy Washington’s $484 million nicotine vapor-products industry and ruin the livelihoods of 3,400 workers that it employs.
The suit also claims that this ban will precipitate a public health crisis as people who vape go to the black market to get products or pick up smoking cigarettes.
The emergency rule "exceeds the board's statutory authority" and is "arbitrary and capricious and violates free speech guarantees," the suit claims.
An agency’s action is arbitrary and capricious if it “is willful and unreasoning and taken without regard to the attending facts or circumstances.”
VTA argues that the state makes no distinction between vaping products that contain THC and vaping products that contain nicotine.
THC is a psychoactive component of marijuana that is linked to the multistate outbreak of illnesses.
“The State acted so quickly to adopt this arbitrary and capricious measure that it failed to consider the significant evidence establishing that vapor products present a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes and the information from the CDC and FDA that black market THC products—not store-bought nicotine-containing products—are to blame for the recent outbreak of illnesses and deaths that the government has been investigating. We should be moving beyond calls for simplistic and ineffectual flavor bans that would, instead, have serious adverse public health and economic consequences," said VTA executive director Tony Abboud in a statement.