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Michigan Becomes First State to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

Vaping fluid marketed to teens comes in flavors such as mango, mint, cotton candy and gummy bear. (Zamuruev/Adobestock)
Vaping fluid marketed to teens comes in flavors such as mango, mint, cotton candy and gummy bear. (Zamuruev/Adobestock)
September 5, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – Public health groups are applauding a first-in-the-nation move by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to ban the sale of flavored vaping products in order to curb teen use of e-cigarettes.

Statistics show that from 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use spiked 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school children.

Andrew Schepers, Michigan director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, says vaping can be a gateway to cigarettes.

"Studies have shown that folks that do use e-cigarettes have been known to use traditional tobacco products as well, and it can turn into a lifelong addiction," he points out.

Whitmer said candy or fruit flavored vape liquid is marketed specifically to children, so the state will forbid the use of terms such as "clean," "safe" or "healthy" in vape ads, and step up enforcement of existing rules against vape ads on billboards.

The Vapor Technology Association opposes the move, saying it will spur a black market and hurt small businesses.

Recently, there have been a spate of news reports of teens with severe lung damage linked to vaping.

The Michigan Legislature passed bills in June to make it illegal to sell vaping products to minors. But Schepers faults lawmakers for not going further.

"They had the opportunity to define these as tobacco, which would provide comprehensive protections for everyone,” he points out. “They failed to do that."

The ban takes effect in about a month and lasts for six months, at which point it can be renewed.

The Food and Drug Administration. has ignored calls to regulate vaping products as it does tobacco.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI