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'Vaping Saves Lives': Group Protests Massachusetts Vape Ban Outside State House

BOSTON (CBS) -- A group protested Gov. Charlie Baker's temporary vaping ban outside the State House Thursday. The Vapor Technology Association has also filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to immediately end the ban in Massachusetts.

At least 19 people nationwide have died and more than 1,000 are sick from vaping-related illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control said Thursday. Baker announced in late September that he would be banning the sale of vaping products in Massachusetts until January.

The group says Baker's ban will destroy the industry. Vaping retailers and their business partners gathered on Beacon Hill to speak out against the ban, some holding signs that read "Vaping Saves Lives."

"You're talking 70, close to 80% of our business gone overnight," said Nilesh Patel, who owns City Smoke Shop locations in Boston and supports restricting vaping products to adults over 21 years old. "Some of us are just trying to survive and hold it down for the next four months."

Michael Sheen, an e-liquid distributor based in Newton, says he's also lost much of his business.

"There was no warning," he said. "Everyone was stuck with so much product, they had no chance to move it."

The association's lawsuit claims the ban poses a public health risk by eliminating what it calls "a safer alternative" to tobacco.

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