Michigan Becomes First State to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

September 4, 2019

US-LIFESTYLE-HEALTH-SMOKING

Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes after the governor said young people needed to be protected from the potentially harmful effects of vaping.

The announcement by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) includes sales in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online and gives sellers 30 days to comply. The ban goes into effect immediately and can be extended for another six months at the end of the term by the governor.

"My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan," Whitmer said in an interview Tuesday.

The governor ordered the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to ban "misleading marketing of vaping products, including the use of terms like 'clean,' 'safe,' and 'healthy' that perpetuate beliefs that these products are harmless."

Whitmer complains that e-cigarette companies are using sweet flavors, such as bubble gum and fruit loops, to hook young kids on nicotine. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 1 in 20 middle schoolers have used e-cigarettes in the past month.

The move by Michigan's governor comes as the CDC step up their investigation into a string of mysterious severe lung illnesses that have been possibly linked to vaping. The city of Milwaukee recently ordered a 'health alert' urging residents to stop vaping immediately after more than a dozen people in the area were hospitalized with severe lung disease.

Meanwhile, the state's health department will work on new regulations that ban flavored e-cigarettes.

The American Vaping Association (AVP) said Whitmer's order was illegal and would likely be challenged in court.

“Governor Whitmer’s ban will create a massive, multi-million dollar black market for these products, which are the same conditions that led to the recent spate of lung illnesses that are now clearly linked to illegal THC vaping products. The CDC is now specifically warning against vaping homemade vaping products, yet this is the exact kind of behavior that a state-instituted flavor ban will lead to.”

While Michigan is the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, San Francisco declared a city-wide ban in July, banning flavored e-cigarettes for sale inside the city. City officials cited similar motivations when they passed their bill that they were trying to curb the "growing health epidemic of youth vaping."

Photo: Getty Images

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