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

American Vaping Association says lawsuits will follow

A man vaping (WDIV)
A man vaping (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's immediate ban of flavored e-cigarette products is unsurprisingly drawing criticism. 

  • The Michigan governor has used her executive power to put in place a six-month ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
  • The ban is in effect immediately and can be extended another six months at the end of these first six months.
  • Gov. Whitmer wants state legislators to write the ban into law. She wants a warning for these products from the federal government such as the one for cigarettes, but until that happens she wants this ban place for Michigan.

The American Vaping Association (AVA) calls Whitmer's executive move a "shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition." The group, which advocates for what it calls "sensible" regulation of vaping products, said Whitmer's ban is illegal and lawsuits will follow.

"This will close down several hundred Michigan small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes," reads a statement from the AVA. "These businesses and their customers will not go down without a fight. We look forward to supporting the lawsuits that now appear necessary to protect the right of adults to access these harm reduction products. In this country, laws are made by legislators, not governors desperate for press attention. Anyone who fears the prospect of an out of control government should be appalled by this attempt by the executive branch to unilaterally ban an adult product. Even more absurd, this ban attempt is coming just months after the Michigan Legislature wisely prohibited sales of vaping products to minors. Governor Whitmer's ban will create a massive, multi-million dollar black market for these products, which are the same conditions that led to the recent spate of lung illnesses that are now clearly linked to illegal THC vaping products. The CDC is now specifically warning against vaping homemade vaping products, yet this is the exact kind of behavior that a state-instituted flavor ban will lead to."

The AVA says businesses who have these products in their inventory are being given a 30-day sell-off window to get the products out the door.

Whitmer wants federal warning

Whitmer said she wants the vaping products to be treated like cigarettes and come with a Surgeon General warning, but she will not wait for the federal government to act.

"It's on the states to take action, and as governor I am going to do it unilaterally until I can get the legislature to adopt it and write it into law," the governor said.

Whitmer said she has teenagers at home and has been talking to them about how prevalent vaping is in their schools.

"They are marketing bubble gum flavor, fruit-loops flavored, they've got one that looks like Mott's apple sauce, implying that it's a healthy alternative to, I suppose, smoking," said Whitmer. "The fact of the matter is, every time our kids inhale this they are putting nicotine into their system, which we know is an incredibly addictive drug, but in combination with the other chemicals that they use in these products, and the metal fragments, we're seeing  kids showing up with these severe respiratory illnesses that we need to address."

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.