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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is commended for imposing a temporary ban on the sale of flavored vaping products. There is enough evidence these products cause serious illness to warrant the ban. And teens, in particular, should be protected from this risk until we know more.

The ban will take effect Oct. 22, and will be lifted Feb. 19, barring further evidence vaping products, which can contain nicotine or marijuana ingredients, pose serious health risks. Montana joins just six other states in imposing the ban, but more are likely to follow.

Nationwide, there have been more than 1,000 cases of illness associated with flavored vaping products and 18 have died. And it’s the ingredients in the flavors that are suspected as the cause. In Montana, two cases have been diagnosed, including one here in Gallatin County.

Nicotine vaping products have been credited with helping people to quit smoking. And most health professionals acknowledge vaping is preferable to smoking. But the downside of these products are that they are finding their way into the hands of teens. Laws prohibit the sale of the products to minors but, as we know in the case of alcohol, there are ways to get around the law. And one of the fears is that using nicotine vaping products will lead to smoking later on. Tens of thousands of Montana teens have acknowledged trying vaping and more than 20,000 say they are regular users. And many of those say they were drawn to the products by the flavoring.

Vaping technology has been around since the 1960s but sparked little interest at the time. The first commercially available e-cigarettes have only been available for a little over 10 years and they have quickly became very popular. The growth in the use of vaping products has been more rapid than the science associated with their use. There is a lot we don’t know about its health effects and it may be years before we do.

Banning flavored products will at least have the effect of diminishing the attractiveness of this practice – especially for young people. And it will allow time for research into what is causing the spate of illnesses associated with vaping.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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