Some Are Left Fuming After Massachusetts Halts Vaping Sales
A big item in the news this week: Massachusetts now has a four-month ban on the sale of vaping supplies.
Governor Charlie Baker said the move was made amid growing concern about negative health effects from vaping, including a mysterious lung disease. The temporary ban allows state government and medical providers time to understand the dangers and respond accordingly.
Some retailers are very upset over it, though — including at least one who is suing — saying they'll be put out of business.
Panelist Chris Collins said he thinks Baker made the wrong call. Calling the ban "absurd," he said the only winners in the situation are Connecticut and New Hampshire retailers who sell vaping products.
"You've had smoking in this state for many, many years," he said. "I had two parents who died from smoking-related illnesses. They didn't ban smoking. I mean, you can't just ban something and expect people to change their behavior. It doesn't work that way."
Panelist Kristin Palpini said the vaping ban will also have a huge impact on the fledgling cannabis industry.
"A lot of places, it's at least a quarter [of their business]," she said. "Are people going to switch and just buy different things? I don't think so. People go to these stores because they're looking for something specific. So folks are going to feel it. And they have every right to be upset about this. They were given guarantees from the state, and they're getting reneged."
Also this week, a poll shows Massachusetts residents support expanding commuter rail service in the state. They're looking for more frequent service and the ability to go to more places. But those polled don't exactly support ways to pay for more trains, like higher fares and an increase in the gas tax.
In politics, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse released eight years' worth of his taxes this week. He's challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Richard Neal in the 2020 primary. Neal in the past has refused to disclose his taxes — but after Morse put his out there, Neal's campaign said the congressman would follow suit.
- Chris Collins, columnist, Greenfield Recorder
- Kristin Palpini, lifestyles editor, The Berkshire Eagle
Listen to The Short List Podcast.