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DISCUSSION: Michigan's flavored e-cigarette ban, a closer look

Michigan has become the first state in the U.S. to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday.

She says the ban is meant to protect minors and put an end to misleading marketing.

  • Watch the Friday morning discussion above.

Here are the key points:

Michigan to ban flavored e-cig sales

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan would become the first state in the U.S. to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
  • The ban gives sellers 30 days to comply and lasts six months before it is up for renewal.
  • Whitmer cited the products' appeal to kids, along with misleading marketing.
    • Whitmer: " Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today. "
  • Whitmer says she wants vaping products to come with a Surgeon General warning, like cigarettes, but she will not wait for the federal government to act.
  • In June , Whitmer signed a bill making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and other non-traditional tobacco products to minors.
  • In July , San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban e-cigarette sales.
  • Read more: Michigan to be first state to ban flavored e-cigarette sales

Vaping advocates respond

  • The American Vaping Association (AVA) called Whitmer's executive move a " shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition. "
  • The AVA believes the ban will:
    • Close several hundred small businesses
    • Send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to traditional cigarettes
    • Create a massive black market for the products
  • The AVA says they will support lawsuits "necessary to protect the right of adults to access these harm reduction products."
  • Read more: Vaping advocates: Michigan governor's flavor ban will be challenged

Are vaping products being marketed to kids?

  • According to a CDC report , e-cig use among high schoolers increased by 78% during 2017-2018.
  • E-cigarette products are available in flavors that are believed to appeal to youth (candy, chocolate and other sweets) and come in bright packaging designed to look like kid-friendly snacks and beverages.
  • E-cig giant Juul Labs has faced several state and federal investigations into its marketing and sales practice after accusations that the company marketed to teens.
  • Juul executives repeatedly claim their products are designed for adult smokers seeking a safer alternative to cigarettes.
  • Juul Targeted Schools and Youth Camps, House Panel on Vaping Claims [ article ]
    • A congressional report presented in July found that Juul spent more than $200,000 sponsoring programs in schools meant to "convey its messaging directly to teenage children."
    • As part of Juul's Youth Prevention and Education effort, the company paid $134,000 to set up a five-week summer camp in with the stated goal of teaching children healthy lifestyles, the report said.
    • The company reportedly offered schools nationwide $10,000 for the opportunity to talk to students in classrooms or after school.
      • One student testified that a Juul representative told a classroom of teens with no teachers present that e-cigarettes were "totally safe."
    • During a congressional hearing, Juul's chief administrative officer said the programs were "intended to keep kids away from using the product."
    • The report also found that Juul recruited celebrity influencers to market their products on social media.
      • "We are aiming for influencers in popular culture with large audiences in various sectors such as music, movies, social, pop media, etc.," a company memo said.
  • Juul executives say they have taken these steps to combat underage use of their products:
    • Shutting down the company's Facebook and Instagram pages
    • Pulling several flavored products from retail stores
    • Backing federal legislation to raise the age to purchase all tobacco products to 21
  • Read more: Juul Labs facing scrutiny from federal and state officials

How harmful is vaping?

  • E-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes—they contain fewer toxic chemicals.
  • Nicotine, a toxic substance, is the primary agent in both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes.
    • Nicotine has been shown to increase the likelihood of having a heart attack.
    • Nicotine is an addictive substance.
  • E-cigarettes give users the ability to get a greater hit of nicotine than with traditional cigarettes.
  • Read more: 5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know

Contaminant found in marijuana vaping products linked to deadly lung illnesses, tests show [article]

  • As of August 27, there were 215 cases nationwide of severe respiratory disease that officials believe is associated with vaping, the CDC reports.
    • Patients report respiratory issues with some being put on oxygen support, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.
    • Six cases of the illness were reported in Michigan, health officials said.
    • The illness caused two deaths, according to officials.
    • Most of the patients are in their late teens and 20s with no underlying health issues. The only thing patients have in common is vaping.
  • New York health officials said Thursday that a compound called vitamin E acetate may be causing the illnesses.
    • The compound was found in cannabis-containing product samples that were submitted by patients for testing.
    • Health officials said it is still too early to know whether this is causing the illness.
    • The compound is harmless when ingested or applied to the skin but can be hazardous when inhaled.
  • New York health officials urged against using unregulated products purchased off the street.
    • Cannabis-containing products are not legally available in New York for recreational use.

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