SALT LAKE CITY — Vape shops across Utah can keep selling flavored juices under a deal reached with state health officials.
The Utah Department of Health announced on Friday it had reached an agreement to apply a preliminary injunction to its emergency rule banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. That means the emergency rule will not be enforced, but vape shops will still be required to post signs warning about the dangers of inhaling unregulated products with THC.
“We’re just extremely glad to see the rule of law prevail,” said Juan Bravo, the head of the Utah Vapors Business Association.
Faced with 109 cases of vaping-related illness across Utah, state health officials implemented an emergency rule that banned general retailers from selling flavored vape juices. Vape shops sued, arguing the Utah Department of Health bypassed rules to regulate the products. They also said what was making people sick — black market THC cartridges — they didn’t sell.
A judge also questioned if the Utah Department of Health’s “emergency” really was one and granted the vape shops’ request for an emergency restraining order.
“The emergency rule was originally intended to be one of public health’s tools for addressing this serious outbreak,” said Ryan Bartlett, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Health. “We’re disappointed we won’t be able to enforce the flavored nicotine elements of the emergency rule, but we will continue to use all other tools at our disposal to help put a stop to this outbreak.”
The agency has already begin the process of crafting new administrative rules that require a public comment period. The Utah State Legislature is also expected to address bills regulating vaping.