When Gov. Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency Tuesday and announced a temporary ban on vaping products, it came as a surprise to local boards of health charged with enforcing the new regulations.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports that Immediately, town employees hit the streets to educate local store clerks about the ban and ensure that the devices and their cartridges were off their shelves.

 

Baker's move came amid a concern about a vaping-associated lung disease that has sickened hundreds and killed 13 around the country. As public health officials work to identify the cause, Baker ordered bricks-and-mortar retailers to immediately halt the sale of products and asked vape companies to exclude sales from Massachusetts shipping addresses.

The Cannabis Control Commission has issued notices to licensees, patients and clinicians to ensure that they are aware of the public health emergency.

In Pittsfield, there are 48 stores that are licensed to sell vaping products, but several of them don't, according to Public Health Director Gina Armstrong.

 

The Board of Health in Great Barrington, which has about a dozen stores licensed to sell tobacco and cannabis vaping products in town, contacted each merchant, letting them know about the ban, a statement from the town said.

While investigators across the country work to ferret out the specific chemicals that have prompted the illnesses and deaths, some critics of Baker's ban are concerned that it will push people toward buying illicit black-market products with unknown ingredients.