Vaping advocates: MI governor's flavor ban will be challenged

Henrietta Brewer
September 4, 2019

Flavored e-cigarettes are controversial due to how attractive they are to teens-but until now, no state had actually banned them.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she chose to ban e-cigarettes after the state Department of Health and Human Services concluded that youth vaping was a public health emergency.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the ban is needed because e-cigarette companies use sweet flavors to hook young people on nicotine.

They will prohibit the sale and misleading marketing of flavoured nicotine vaping products.

The move bans the online and retail sale of flavored e-cigarettes for six months after the MI health department deemed vaping to be a health crisis. Whitmer said MI will be the first to ban flavored vaping products, including for adults.

MI is taking action against vaping.

Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, called the measure a "bold and appropriate" response "to the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use", noting the recent outbreak in illnesses associated with e-cigarettes. The health department will simultaneously be working on permanent regulations to ban sales of the e-cigs.

The move is expected to be announced on Wednesday and will go into effect immediately. Juul also backs federal legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 nationwide. A statement read: "With a more than 1.5 million increase in the number of students using vaping products in just one year, the governor's emergency actions today are exactly the bold measures we must take to protect Michigan's children from the risky effects of vaping". MI officials are investigating six such cases.

He said the ban would create a "massive" black market.

Whitmer's announcement drew praise from public health groups and criticism from organizations that advocate for vaping.

"This shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition will close down several hundred MI small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes", said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Assn. Tobacco flavors, meanwhile, will remain available. The company has shut down its Facebook and Instagram pages and pulled its fruit- and dessert-flavored pods from retail stores.

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