Michigan drops plan to ban flavored vaping products in favor of new approach

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  • Steve neavling
  • Nicotine flavored vaping liquids at Detroit Smoke & Vape in Midtown.

Michigan abruptly abandoned its two-year effort to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products and now plans to take a different approach to tackling youth vaping, which has declined sharply.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) this week withdrew rules to permanently ban the sale and distribution of flavored nicotine vaping products.

Advocates of vaping have long argued that the ban was misguided and would primarily impact former cigarette smokers who quit by vaping flavored nicotine, which is generally considered to be less harmful.

“The MDHHS is working with our legislative partners to protect young people from the addiction that can result from flavored nicotine vaping products,” said MDHHS spokesperson Bob Wheaton. Metro timetable in a press release on Friday. “Due to progress on a legislative solution, the MDHHS withdrew the rules that were to be considered by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The MDHHS remains committed to protecting Michigan’s youth from the dangers of nicotine use and addiction, and appreciates the spirit of partnership within the legislature to find a solution that achieves this important goal.

Wheaton refers to a set of six state Senate bills (572-577) that would raise the age requirement to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. The legislation would also impose a tax of 18 % on liquids flavored with nicotine and would prohibit the products from being sold to minors.

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A young woman vaping nicotine.  - SHUTTER STOCK

  • Shutterstock
  • A young woman vaping nicotine.

Teenage vaping in the US has dropped 43% from last year, recent report shows National Youth Smoking Survey 2021. The study found that 11.3% of high school students and 2.8% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, up from 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle school students in 2020.

In September 2019, Michigan became the first state in the United States to ban nicotine flavored products. Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order declaring the increase in vaping among young people a health emergency.

But a Michigan Claims Court judge issued an injunction sought by vape store owners, who argued Whitmer had overstepped his authority by imposing a ban without the approval of state lawmakers. The Michigan Supreme Court rejected the state’s request to reconsider the lower court’s decision in September 2020.

The Whitmer administration took a different route last year, when the MDHHS proposed rules to ban the products and began to hold public hearings on the matter.

The crackdown came amid an unrelated outbreak of serious lung disease caused by tainted marijuana vaping products, leading many to confuse the two issues.

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