A Washington Business Association Sues Pierce County, WA in Response to Unjust Regulations

January 11, 2016 6:00PM, Tacoma, WA

Pierce County’s over-regulation will greatly damage and in some cases completely destroy small businesses for no valid reason or public health interest.

Pink Lung Brigade (PLB) has filed suit against Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD), seeking an injunction, for passing amendments to preexisting vapor product regulations.  PLB claims the amendments are not based on any verifiable scientific data and do nothing to protect public health or reduce youth access.  In fact, the regulatory amendments adopted by TPCHD serve to harm public health by restricting adult access to products that are widely used as a safer alternative to smoking.

The new rules, which were adopted on Nov. 18th 2015, went into effect on Jan. 1st 2016.  Enforcement waits for TPCHD to figure out how to manage the regulations they’ve passed and establish a licensure system.  Small businesses in the community will suffer immensely under the new amendments, which will lead to shop owners closing their doors and job losses across the county.  Pierce County will not only implement a new tax under the guise of licensure they will also now require retail vape shops to install unnecessary HVAC filtration systems in their establishments.  Some buildings are too old to meet the requirements while others, after permitting and construction, could see hefty price tags of up to 75k-80k.

The current amendment restricts minors from entering retail vape shops and is agreeable to vape shop owners however, according to Pierce County’s new rules, once an adult enters an establishment they seek to dictate how that customer will be serviced.  It mandates that retail vape shops remove all comfortable seating and force customers to stand while participating in a consultative process that can take up to an hour or more to facilitate.   Sampling and testing of vapor products has now been limited to three people at a time, making an impossible scenario for the in and out customer. 

Pierce County has also banned the use of nicotine in the sampling of e-liquid and they pledge to do testing stings at the cost of the retailer.  Nicotine testing from a certified lab can cost upwards of 3k for just 6 flavors while some vape shops can carry varieties of up to 300 flavors.  Pierce County has set no limits for the amount of samples it can request for testing.  This new rule can be abused to force a retail shop into bankruptcy.  Pierce County is over-regulating small business out of business.

“Regardless of any good intentions here, the problem is the Health Board has overstepped its authority and it is going to hurt small businesses and interfere with the public moving away from smoking. So my clients are looking to the courts to set things right and let the state legislature tackle this problem.” PLB’s Attorney Eric Krening of Osinski Law Offices.

Pink Lung Brigade was founded in 2014.  Supporters include its members of industry professionals, local commerce chambers, as well as, legislators and government officials with a focus on promoting better solutions and healthy economic growth.  PLB’s officers and its members have advocated for common sense regulations and youth prevention since before its inception as a business association.  PLB is legally represented by Thomas Osinski and Eric Krening of Osinski Law Offices P.L.L.C.

 


Marc Jarrett
Marc Jarrett

Author



28 Responses

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Sarah Carlson

September 04, 2017

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x
x

July 31, 2016

In case you don’t already know, you should be aware that the Tacoma area has a terrible public disturbance noise problem. I am mainly referring to the following: 1) Loud subwoofer thumping noises that are blasted through walls and into homes by vehicles and can be heard for several blocks. 2) Loud exhaust noises from vehicles with mufflers removed or with loud “sport” mufflers. 3) Loud sound systems playing inside homes that can be heard inside homes that are many houses away. 4) Fireworks exploded any random time, day or night, 365 days a year, even when no holiday is near. The people doing this are intentionally trying to harass and menace everybody in the community! This is criminal behavior and there is a serious lack of enforcement of the Pierce County Code Chapter 8.72. Loud subwoofers heard from 50+ feet away are illegal. Unmuffled or loud vehicle exhausts, are misdemeanor crimes. The law is very clear and explicit here. The residents of Pierce County do not have to accept this criminality! Please read the law and contact government officials, including law enforcement, and demand that the law be enforced! Loud low-frequency thumping in particular causes violent and explosive emotions in people. There have been many violent incidents and even killings, occurring here and around the nation, that were touched off by loud music being forced into people’s homes. No wonder decent people do not want to move here, crime is high, property values are low, and criminals figure if they can get away with public disturbance, they can get away with any other crime. We do not have to accept this constant disturbance of the peace. It is illegal! The quality of life will remain low here until the residents do something about this.

Clips from the current version (2016/2017) of the Pierce County Code Chapter 8.72:
Chapter 8.72 MOTOR VEHICLE, PUBLIC DISTURBANCE, AND PUBLIC NUISANCE NOISE
8.72.040 Mufflers. It is unlawful for any person to operate, or for any owner to permit any person to operate, any motor vehicle or motorcycle upon the public highways which is not equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation.
8.72.070 Exhaust System. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway if the vehicle exhaust system exceeds the maximum permissible sound levels set forth below for the category of vehicle, as measured at a distance of twenty inches (0.5 meter) from the exhaust outlet under procedures established by the State of Washington in Washington Administrative Code Chapter 173-58-080, “Close Proximity Exhaust System Sound Level Measurement Procedure.” Motorcycles 99 dB(A)/Automobiles, light trucks, and all other motor vehicles 10,000 pounds or less 95 dB(A).
8.72.090 Public Disturbance Noises. It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from the property, a public disturbance noise. The following sounds are public disturbance noises:…
C. Frequent, repetitive, or continuous sounds from starting, operating, repairing, rebuilding, or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle, dirt bike, or other off-highway vehicle, or any internal combustion engine, within a rural or residential district, including vacant property adjacent thereto, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort, and repose of owners or possessors of real property…
F. Any loud and raucous sound made by use of a musical instrument, whistle, sound amplifier, or other device capable of producing or reproducing sound which emanates frequently, repetitively, or continuously from any building, structure or property, such as sound originating from a band session, tavern operation, or social gathering and which unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort, and repose of owners or possessors of real property in the area affected by such noise…
H. Public disturbance noise from portable or motor vehicle audio equipment: While in park areas, residential or commercial zones, or any area where residences, schools, human service facilities, or commercial establishments are in obvious proximity to the source of the sound, it is unlawful for any person to negligently cause, make, or allow to be made from audio equipment under such person’s control or ownership the following:
1. Sound from a motor vehicle or vessel sound system, such as a tape player, radio, or compact disc player, which is operated at such a volume that it could be clearly heard by a person of normal hearing at a distance of 50 feet or more from the vehicle or vessel itself;
2. Sound from audio equipment such as a tape player, radio, or compact disc player, which is operated at such a volume that it could be clearly heard by a person of normal hearing at a distance of 50 feet or more from the source of the sound;
8.72.120 Enforcement… C. The Sections of this Chapter relating to motor vehicles and vessels and noise emanating from vehicles and vessels, shall be subject to enforcement proceedings with or without a citizen’s complaint.
8.72.130 Violation – Penalty. A. Any person violating any motor vehicle performance standard of this Chapter, or who shall create, keep, maintain, or allow to occur any noise related to motor vehicle performance standards, as defined herein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Chris Kalfa
Chris Kalfa

January 21, 2016

They need to believe the truth behind the science that vaping is not smoke/smoking or anything cigarette bed related ! Let Us look to live better without hindering us with BS. We’re Tax Payers too.

Daniel Morse
Daniel Morse

January 21, 2016

Great read. I live in kitsap which is a neighbor to pierce. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help

Faith Walmer
Faith Walmer

January 20, 2016

At age 64 after smoking 2 packs a day for 42 years, I have now been smoke free for over 2 years. Vaping has absolutely changed my life and my health. Thank you for all you are doing and please email me if I can be of any assistance

Nolan Fernandez
Nolan Fernandez

January 20, 2016

This lawsuit is exactly what the vaping community and industry needs. 3 years smoke free all because of vaping, and I wish Pink Lung Brigade and Marc the greatest of successes in overcoming corruption, fighting the good fight and educating these ignorant politicians and lawmakers. They are not only over-regulating but are grossly overstepping their bounds in nearly all aspects. Much love and support!

Olmandan
Olmandan

January 20, 2016

It’s just a joke….how can you make laws and rules about something you know nothing about…3 years smoke free..quit many times before vaping.
Keep fighting the good fight!!!

Mr. Black
Mr. Black

January 20, 2016

It’s sad how this isn’t the first issue like this. Although not quite as strick, Kansas City passed a very similar bill. Vaping is now a tobacco product, the legal age is now 21 (no one under 21 may enter a shop were sampling is going on), and all those shops must now install ventilation similar to the fore-mentioned bill. Even though the truth is out and in the open about vape it’s being attacked here in the states.

Blake Maresh
Blake Maresh

January 20, 2016

I live in Pierce County and fully support everything you guys are doing. If there is anything I can do I would love to help.

Pete Panaia
Pete Panaia

January 20, 2016

Let’s be real here! Stop conforming to lobbying and political pressures! No law should ever infringe on a persons right to a gainful living. This law would directly cripple local businesses!

Butch Montross
Butch Montross

January 20, 2016

Keep up the fight. Ppl out on the east side of the country support you all. Whatever goes down out there effects us all. Thanks for everything

Mia
Mia

January 14, 2016

Thank you for everything you do. #weareplb #plblove #isupportplb

jacob kistenmacher
jacob kistenmacher

January 12, 2016

Thank you guys so much. This means a lot to me and so many people i know. Where do i vote on this or sign.

Ploomx12
Ploomx12

January 12, 2016

Thank you for everything you guys are doing I may be in king county but I’ll do all that I can to help out. It’s about time the government learned that we are not some trend just trying to be remembered. that we are a community that accepts anyone trying to kick the habit of cigarettes as well as a support group sort of like an as only millions strong via social.media and vape shops. Also don’t forget Europe needs help right now if you look up ploomx12 on instagram you can find a link on my page to a petition that anyone even in our country can sign they need to hit a 100k soon and it only takes a second to do. Big things to come this year guys. This is the year the defines the vaping community let’s make it a spectacular one.

gotsteam
gotsteam

January 12, 2016

While we have science, fact and reason on the side of vapors, our opponents are greed, corruption, willing ignorance and cronyism. It’s an uphill fight all the way but definetly worth fighting. We fight for our rights and health while they fight for our money and restrictions, pure and simple.

Good luck.

S. Carleton
S. Carleton

January 12, 2016

I hope the lawsuit is successful. Spokane County it’s trying to enact very similar draconian regulations without facts, perhaps this suit will give them pause.

Brandon Beauchesne
Brandon Beauchesne

January 12, 2016

Great read! A big thanks to PLB and all of its supporters!

AndriaD
AndriaD

January 12, 2016

I applaud this move, though I don’t live in WA; it’s about time some intelligent people took on the idiot puritans and greedy tax-suckers!

Anyone who tries to suppress vaping is motivated solely by greed and ignorance, and should not be let out of the house, nevermind into government.

Kyle Tracy
Kyle Tracy

January 12, 2016

Thank you for all the plb and associates have done for vaping rights. I can only hope that this case succeeds in its endeavors to put vaping back into a reasonable laws and keep our many small businesses open. The gross over-stepping of bounds demonstrated by pierce county has me in ill-feeling on their views of both the law and what they view as important issues in my county. I cannot say i have an ounce of trust in my heart for them to make any decision that is actually directed for the good of the public of pierce county. I hope one day pierce counties halls are filled with lawmakers for the good of the county and not for the good of their own pockets.

Marc Jarrett
Marc Jarrett

January 12, 2016

Thank you guys for the support! Wish us luck!

Kenneth Cox,C.E.O  C.C Vapor
Kenneth Cox,C.E.O C.C Vapor

January 11, 2016

Outstanding!! Thank you Pink Lung !! The absolute best product ever created to at least provide an alternative to smoking.The studies are out there and its about time the public and our government get educated!

Alex Rovo
Alex Rovo

January 11, 2016

Finally, someone is making sense! Thank you PLB for bringing this to the publics attention. Too long have people had misguided information about vaping.

Justin Wilcox
Justin Wilcox

January 11, 2016

Thank you guys so much for working on all of this for us. I know it could not have been easy to do what you had to do but I know the community is grateful. #plblove

Shelly
Shelly

January 11, 2016

It seems strange that TPHD required the HVAC upgrades and additions in an effort to reduce “second hand vape” which was their chief concern at the last public board meeting, and then they drastically reduced the shops’ ability to do business and stopped in store vaping. So those expensive HVAC systems are for not. Any “public health” issues that they sought to correct have been left to the wayside as they regulate businesses into bankruptcy.

John (thevapeshop) smith
John (thevapeshop) smith

January 11, 2016

Well worded and so much truth. good job marc keep fighting the good fight we all got your back

Pete Jackson
Pete Jackson

January 11, 2016

Thank you Marc and the PLB team!

Sean Davison
Sean Davison

January 11, 2016

I firmly believe that Vapor products save lives and stand by this lawsuit 110%. I have been ciggarette free two years. I’am labeled a former smoker at my doctors office. My lung quality has increased immeasurably in those two years, and I owe it all to the e-cig industry.

Kathleen (Skyerider) Conrad
Kathleen (Skyerider) Conrad

January 11, 2016

Thank you Mark and Pink Lung Brigade!

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