SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Several Utah vape shops sued the state’s Department of Health over its emergency rule restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid a national outbreak of lung damage linked to vaping.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, retailers claimed there is no evidence to suggest flavored e-cigarettes are causing lung damage and that the new rule could hurt business.
Recent cases of lung damage, they argued, are instead caused by “these persons’ use of black-market THC cartridges,” according to the lawsuit.
The rule, which took effect Monday, bans general tobacco retailers including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations from selling flavored e-cigarette products. All tobacco sellers are required to post notices about the danger of vaping unregulated THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana that’s been linked to most lung-damage cases in Utah.
All vape shops involved in the lawsuit are general tobacco retailers that can no longer sell flavored vape products under the rule.
The retailers said the health department enacted the rule without public comment and that the ban would cause “irreparable harm to their business reputation” to the point that they would be “forced to close their businesses.”
Utah has been hit especially hard in