At least one Montana vape store is quickly pivoting to stay open under the state’s new temporary ban on the sale of flavored vaping products.
Montana’s Freedom Vapes stores are now offering customers do-it-yourself vaping kits in a potential workaround for the state’s new ban. This option comes 24 hours after the start of a four month statewide ban on the sale of flavored vaping products.
Ron and Deanna Marshall own three Freedom Vapes stores in Hamilton, Belgrade and Bozeman. Freedom vapes was among an industry group that sued the Bullock administration to stop the ban.
The business’s Facebook page Thursday said, "We are trying our best to keep your needs met while we work through this blatant witch hunt against our business, and products that have helped all of you break the deadly habit of tobacco use."
The post noted that while they can no longer sell pre-made flavored e-liquid, they now offer do-it-yourself kits which enable customers to purchase components separately so they can make their own products.
A Freedom Vapes employee answering the phone Thursday said customer, "could potentially" make their own flavored vape juice.
The store’s Facebook posting warns customers that buying cheap ingredients off the shelf could lead to serious lung damage or death. The company says it sells the highest quality ingredients on the market.
The state health department is working with local public health officials to enforce the new emergency rule and to ensure all businesses are in compliance.
In a written statement to Montana Public Radio Thursday the state agency said, "We express concern with this attempt to further addict a new generation of users to harmful nicotine products."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues its investigation into lung illnesses that have sickened over 2,500 and killed 54 people in 27 states, including one here Montana.
CDC urges the public to avoid all THC vape products as well as those obtained on the black market. It also recommends not using any e-cigarette or vaping products while its investigation continues.