Court issues temporary stay on flavored vaping ban in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon's Court of Appeals on Thursday put a halt to the state's ban on flavored vaping products two days after it took effect.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the temporary stay issued appears to apply only to tobacco-based vaping products, sold under the oversight of the Oregon Health Authority. It leaves the ban in place on marijuana vaping products regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

On Oct.4, Gov. Kate Brown ordered a six-month ban on flavored vape products in Oregon in response to an epidemic of vaping-related illnesses across the country. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been nearly 1,500 illnesses and 33 deaths nationwide. Oregon has reported nine illnesses and two deaths.

"The court's decision to enter a temporary stay today is unfortunate due to the ongoing public health threat posed by vaping-related illness," the governor's spokesman, Charles Boyle, said in statement Thursday.

He said that absent federal regulation, Brown will work with public health organizations, state agencies and the Legislature in search of a long-term solution to vaping illnesses.

"Governor Brown continues to urge Oregonians to heed the public health warning of the Oregon Health Authority and to stop vaping immediately," Boyle said.

Earlier this month, a state court blocked a similar flavored vaping ban in New York.

In a challenge filed Wednesday with the Oregon Court of Appeals, vape businesses and an industry group called the Vapor Technology Association said they would "suffer severe and irreparable harm long before the (ban) can be subjected to full judicial review."

Two businesses, Smokeless Solutions and Vape Crusaders, said that if the governor's order remained in place it would "force the permanent closure of their businesses within the next two weeks."

Their court challenge argued that Oregon regulators lack the legal standing to enforce the governor's ban.

The Oregon Health Authority issued a statement defending the ban, calling it "an evidence-based strategy to prevent youth, as well as adults attracted to flavors, from becoming exposed to the health risks from vaping products and from becoming addicted to nicotine."