The state of Montana has been roiled by a legal battle centered on the accessibility of flavored vaping products. After Governor Steve Bullock reacted to a spate of vaping-related deaths across the nation by implementing a ban on flavored vaping products in stores across Montana, business owners took the state’s chief executive to court and won a temporary restraining order against him. It was thus still acceptable to sell the flavored products despite the governor’s efforts to ban them, which were blocked by the court.

The legal restraining order preventing the governor from implementing his vape ban has expired, however, and his legal team is arguing that they can now move forward with the banning of flavored vape products.

Business owners in Montana believe otherwise and are returning to court to extend the legal order preventing the governor from cracking down on flavored vaping products.

Business owners who have a commercial interest in selling the vaping products appealed to the courts, asking them to extend their restraining order against the governor’s ban. According to in-depth reporting from the Missoula Current, the chief legal counsel for Gov. Bullock responded in a court filing on Monday, arguing that they cannot be prevented from implementing a new vape ban.

Governor's office opposed

“An extension of the order would do nothing more than facilitating the continued exposure of a dangerous, addictive drug to Montana’s youth in the face of unknown risks and skyrocketing injuries and deaths,” Raph Graybill wrote on the governor’s behalf.

“The court should deny (the request) and issue its ruling on this critical public health issue.”

Local vape shop owners like Ron Marshall continue to sell the flavored vaping products, demonstrating that the governor’s initial attempt to ban them was indeed functionally thwarted by the courts.

Lung injuries

The legal battle was likely spawned over lung injuries and vaping-related deaths that seized national media attention throughout the course of 2019.

The Center for Disease Control issued a helpful breakdown of the prevalence of severe lung disease related to vaping and smoking for the public’s consumption. Ongoing legal and medical investigations into various illnesses and deaths remain to continue across the United States.

“Therefore, the best way for people to ensure that they are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” the Center’s page claims.

The governor claims that no legal authority can prevent him from issuing a new ban and intends to move forward with a new one as quickly as possible.