State: Ban Costing Vaping Stores Up to $8M in Sales

A Juul display was cleared out in September at Richdale Convenience Store across from the State House. Surrounding the empty case were packed shelves of cigarettes, lottery tickets, and diverse CBD products. (Courtesy photograph/Sam Doran, State House News Service.)

The Baker administration projects that a three-month ban on retail nicotine and marijuana vaping products has the potential to cost private businesses $7 million to $8 million in sales.

The estimate was included in paperwork filed with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office by the Department of Public Health on Monday. The filing was required to implement an emergency regulation in compliance with a Superior Court judge’s order that questioned the way Gov. Charlie Baker implemented his temporary ban on vaping product sales.

DPH officials said the ban would cost the state about $35,000, and the out-of-pocket cost to comply with the ban would be “minimal” for the private sector, but had the potential to cost store owners up to $8 million in lost sales. The American Vaping Association has said that nicotine vaping business owners in Massachusetts employ 2,500 people as part of a $331 million industry.

The administration did not distinguish in its estimates how much of the lost sales would come from nicotine products versus marijuana products, but $8 million would represent about 2.4 percent of total nicotine vaping product sales.

The Vapor Technology Association and other local vape store owners sued the Baker administration seeking to have the ban overturned. In his ruling on the plaintiffs request for immediate relief from the ban, Judge Douglas Wilkins agreed that store owners “have certainly suffered, and will suffer, very great and irreparable financial impact” from the ban, but said the “balance of harm” weighs in the state’s favor because of the threat to public health.

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