BOSTON (AP) — A state judge on Monday allowed Massachusetts’ four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products to remain in effect but said Gov. Charlie Baker had failed to follow required procedures in enacting the measure.

Immediately lifting the ban as requested by
the vaping industry “would contravene the public interest,” Suffolk
Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins wrote in his decision.

But he
said unless the state goes through the proper procedure for the
adoption of an emergency regulation, which requires a public hearing,
the ban will end next Monday.

“Input from affected industries and
members of the public is a potent safeguard against executive abuse of
discretion,” Wilkins wrote.

The Republican governor last month
announced a statewide ban on the sale of vaping products in response to
lung illnesses and deaths attributed to the use of e-cigarette products.

“We
always said that we knew the courts were probably going to be part of
this process,” Baker said in response to Monday’s decision. “But for us
the public health issues associated with this outweighed the negative
consequences, which are real, and we understand that associated with the
ban in the first place.”

A spokeswoman for the governor says the administration will work with the state attorney general’s office on the next steps.

After
the governor enacted the ban, several vape shops as well as an industry
group challenged it in court, saying it was destroying their business.

Baker’s
ban “reflects executive overreach, which violates state constitutional
separation-of-powers principles” and is “arbitrary and capricious,” the
plaintiffs said.

Tony Abboud, the executive director of the Vapor
Technology Association, said in a statement he was pleased the judge
recognized that the organization is likely to prevail in court.

“We
regret, however, the court’s decision to allow this improper ban to
stay in place for a week while the state considers other regulatory
alternatives,” he said.

Massachusetts public health officials say
there have been 29 confirmed or probable vaping-related lung illnesses
and one death in the state.

Nationwide, the number of
vaping-related lung injury cases has surpassed 1,400, and with 33
deaths, according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

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