Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is moving to make Michigan the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes.
The Democrat announced Wednesday that she ordered the state health department to issue emergency rules. They will prohibit the sale and misleading marketing of flavored nicotine vaping products.
Whitmer says her No. 1 priority is keeping kids safe, and she wants to stop companies that are using candy flavors to "hook children on nicotine." The federal government and nearly every state, including Michigan, bar the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Michigan signed on in June.
However, Whitmer says Michigan will be the first to ban flavored vaping products, including for adults.
The ban, imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), through the direction of Whitmer prohibits the online and retail sales of flavored nicotine products.
The ban will go into effect when the state health department begins issuing rules, which is expected to happen sometime in the next 30 days.
At that point, the ban will last six months and will give Michigan businesses 30 days to comply.
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The Governor was able to issue the emergency rules because the MDHHS has issued e-cigarette smoking a public health crisis .
"These products can contain harmful chemicals that put our kids’ health at risk," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen an explosive increase in the number of Michigan kids exposed to vaping products."
From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use spiked 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. kids, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students were regular users. These rates are still climbing, likely fueled by the availability of flavors akin to apple juice, bubble gum, and Nerds, according to Whitmer's office.
She cited a study that showed just last year, 21 percent of American high school students and 5 percent of middle school students -- children as young as 12 -- reported having used e-cigarettes or other vape products within a 30-day period.
Just last week, the state health department said it’s investigating six cases of e-cigarettes or vaping-associated respiratory illnesses . All six cases were diagnosed in the past two months; all were reported in the Lower Pennisula.
The health department is investigating but hasn’t identified a specific brand or device related to these illnesses.
The American Vaping Association says the "shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition" could send thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly cigarettes. Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association says the move will force hundreds of small business in Michigan to close.
It says it will support lawsuits to challenge the ban.