On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an order making Michigan the first state in the country to ban flavored nicotine vaping products.
It followed a finding from Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun that youth vaping constitutes a public health emergency. Whitmer ordered the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue emergency rules to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products in retail stores and online, and ban misleading marketing of vaping products, including the use of terms like “clean,” “safe” and “healthy” that perpetuate beliefs that these products are harmless.
The governor also ordered the Michigan Department of Transportation to enforce an existing statute to prohibit the advertising of vapor products on billboards.
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, called the order, “bold and appropriate action in response to the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.” Brown added that, “The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses associated with e-cigarette use has only added to the uncertainty and increased the need for immediate action. We urge the FDA to move urgently to protect public health and exercise strict oversight over all e-cigarette products.”
In making the announcement, Whitmer said, “As governor, my number one priority is keeping our kids safe, and 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. Our kids deserve leaders who are going to fight to protect them. These bold steps will finally put an end to these irresponsible and deceptive practices and protect Michiganders’ public health.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. kids, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students were regular users of vaping products.