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Residents, students divided on Baker’s four month vaping products ban

Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency related to e-cigarette use on Tuesday and issued a four-month long ban on the use of all vaping products in Massachusetts. CHRISTOPHER GOUGH/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Less than a week into Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products, residents remain divided on the ban and its potential effects.

The ban, announced Tuesday and effective immediately, prohibits the sale of all vaping products, including all forms of vaping fluid and vaporizing devices. The ban arose from an increase in vaping-related lung illness since this summer.

As people across the state adjust to the ban, the Boston Public Health Commission said in a statement they are working to make sure all businesses and residents are aware of the current rules.

“Boston Public Health Commission inspectors are actively working to share information about the requirements of the public health emergency declared this week with Boston retailers,” according to the statement.

However, Behram Agha, the owner of several vape shops in Danvers responded to the ban by filing a lawsuit against the state in fear of bankruptcy.

“I wanted to do the lawsuit because it came as a shock to my store,” Agha said. “We all still have bills, you know. There is a group of us, a group of vape shop owners and we are all pretty much worried. It’s our business … [the ban] came very suddenly.”

Agha said the ban will force residents to turn back to cigarettes.

“I have a customer who already told me they are going back to cigarettes,” he said.

Robert Fisk, 67, of Back Bay, said he was worried that the ban could hurt small businesses.

“That four months without revenue can put people out of business, or severely hurt them,” Fisk said. “All the vape shops in New Hampshire are making a lot of money now. Big time. So being a pro-business governor like Baker is, I’m not sure he saw that through.”

Musnam Alam, 20, of Revere, said she is strongly against the ban and believes that e-cigarette users who use their devices to quit smoking will turn back to cigarettes.

“The ban is not okay, because other people, they’re trying to get off cigarettes,” Alam said. “A lot of people can’t just go cold turkey off that. They’re gonna turn to cigarettes again. They should ban cigarettes instead of these vaping products.”

Sunaina Nigam, a sophomore in Boston University’s College of General Studies said while she supports the ban, she does so with reservation.

“I think it’s positive, but they are focusing their resources on a stupid problem,” Nigam said. “There’s a lot of other stuff going on. I read an article about how nine people died [from vaping] and they go straight to getting that under control, then there are thousands of kids who die with [lack of] gun control and there’s nothing really being done about that.”

Nigam said that she did not think that the ban would prevent residents from obtaining e-cigarettes.

“If vapers really want to vape, they’re going to vape,” Nigam said. “They’re going to figure out a way to get it anyway, which is obviously a negative effect.”

Meanwhile, Frederic Cando, a sophomore in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation, said that he fully supports the ban, as it gives researchers time to analyze the effects of vaping on health.

“I thought it was a very good thing because I can already see the changes around campus,” Cando said. “I see positive effects because as someone who is sort of into that culture, it affected my life personally [and] helped me become healthier.”

Lily Bryant, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks the ban will affect college students the most.

“It’s interesting because I don’t know many adults who are actually vaping. I suppose people who I see vaping are typically younger,” Bryant said. “… You shouldn’t be smoking cigarettes when you’re 16 years old, but I think college students and adults should be able to make their own choices.”

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