The fact that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is moving ahead to formulate plans to execute Gov. Kate Brown’s order that bans vaping products is good news.

A spokesman for the agency said in a story in this newspaper this week that once the commission OKs the ban, its staff could begin inspecting retailers immediately.

As many readers probably already know, Brown issued an executive order last week to ban flavored vaping products for six months. The ban is a reaction to a mysterious vaping illness that has sickened more than 1,000 people across the nation, and two dead in Oregon.

In our conservative part of the county, no one is particularly enamored when government steps in and proclaims the decision is for our “own good.” The Eastern Oregon mantra of live-and-let-live as long as you are not breaking the law remains vibrant. If you want to smoke, that’s your personal decision.

But in this case Brown made the right move.

That’s because flavored vaping products are extremely popular and right now the product appears to be causing serious illnesses. The reason why people are apparently harmed by using the flavored vaping products is unknown. That makes it a general health hazard. When the health of the greater community — whether in small town Eastern Oregon or other parts of the nation — is at risk, government has a duty to act.

Public health isn’t a once-in-a-while issue, but one that centers on our very way of life and our collective pursuit of happiness. So, the governor’s decision was a prudent one. A lot remains unknown about what is causing these vaping injuries. What, exactly, is the cause is something the nation’s medical community — spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control — must discover.

Granted, the ban will impact small businesses that sell the product. No one in our part of the state likes to see small business — or business of any kind, for that matter — suffer an economic hardship. Building a prosperous business anywhere in America is tough, but it is particularly difficult in Eastern Oregon.

But in this case, a prudent course of action is far better than doing nothing and waiting for a medical solution that could take months or years to surface.

Until a definitive answer to the vaping illnesses can be found and proper steps created to deal with it, a ban makes sense. On this one the governor made the right move.

—East Oregonian

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