Major changes could be coming to smokers in Michigan in the months to come. On Wednesday, September 4, Governor Whitmer declared a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Her announcement came out based on the state health department finding youth vaping constituted a public health emergency.
New Ruling from the Governor’s Office
The Michigan ban will impact both in-store and online sales all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco. The ban will go into effect in the next few weeks. Expect the ban to last for about six months, and then the governor can renew the ban for an extra six months.
During the ban, the health department will work to develop permanent regulations banning flavored e-cigarettes. Working through the legal process, the Michigan legislature could put forth a block on these rules. If a legislative block comes through, it could face a veto.
Increased Use in School-Aged Kids
One of the biggest pushes for the proposed ban of flavored e-cigarette use is the product's impact on minors.
Governor Whitmer made a statement expressing, “As governor, my number one priority is keeping our kids safe...companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine.”
The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) recently reported some alarming numbers for e-cigarette usage among teens. According to their 2018 survey, high school students using e-cigarettes went from 11.7 to 20.8 percent, increasing 78 percent between the years 2017 and 2018. In the same period, use among middle school students increased by 48 percent. Usage is defined as one time in the past 30 days.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, e-cigarette use is more popular with young people than traditional cigarette use. Going by the numbers of cigarette and e-cigarette use: 8th-grade users were 3.6 vs. 9.5 percent, 10th-grade users were 6.3 vs. 14 percent, and 12-grade users were 11.4 vs. 16.2 percent.
Impact on Community Health
Aside from youth use of e-cigarettes, there is also cause for concern in general use no matter the age of vaping individual. As of September 12, 2019, six deaths have been linked to vaping and e-cigarette use according to CNN.
Vaping has often been marketed as an aid for people who wish to stop smoking. According to the Hopkins medical website, e-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA as a cessation tool (something to help a person stop). In fact, most traditional smokers end up smoking and vaping.
The governor pointed to this flawed marketing for vaping as another reason for the ban. Her statement included the following, “...misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today...These bold steps will finally put an end to these irresponsible and deceptive practices and protect Michiganders’ public health.” The governor’s office pointed out the use of the words "clear," "safe," or "healthy" to describe their products is particularly misleading.
Michigan already has a ban on sales of e-cigarettes to minors. Read more on the status of minors charged with a misdemeanor for vaping in our past blog post. Aldrich Legal Services continues to stay up on the most recent legal developments that impact Michigan youth. If you would like to learn more about how to legally protect you or a family member, give us a call today at (734) 404-3000.