Today, Michigan became the first state to ban the retail and online sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Governor Gretchen Whitmer cited the state health department’s classification of youth vaping as a public health emergency as the impetus for the ban.
The ban will take effect in a few weeks and allow businesses 30 days to be compliant. The ban is in effect for six months and can be reinstated if deemed necessary at the end of that time period. The state’s health department is currently working out the rules of the ban and on making it permanent legislature.
The ban will not affect tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. It solely targets flavored varieties like Fruit Loop, Crème Brule and Fanta that have long been thought to be used to lure kids to using e-cigarettes.
While e-cigarettes have no tobacco, they do contain nicotine. A single Juul cartridge is estimated to have the same amount of nicotine as a pack of traditional cigarettes, leaving users with legitimate addiction issues. Pediatrician, Dr. Laura Neustater told Parentology earlier this year, “The user is still exposed to nicotine, which can lead to dependence and long-term health consequences.”
This addiction among young e-cigarette users, combined with the recent rash of kids hospitalized with lung and breathing complications believed to be linked to e-cigarettes, is causing concern throughout the country. Governor Whitmer echoed that concern in her statement “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan.”
The e-cigarette industry plans to fight the ban. In a statement, Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said “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.”
Some of the proponents of the state ban support taking it a step further, to a national ban. Pointing to the lack of regulation over the e-cigarette industry combined with the unknown long-term effects of e-cigarette usage as a deadly combination. In a joint statement released by the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Truth Initiative
“In the absence of strong federal regulation, parents have been blindsided by the e-cigarette epidemic,” the groups wrote. “The time for waiting is over. The FDA must immediately remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market nationwide, prohibit all marketing to children and prohibit online sales of e-cigarettes.”
While Michigan is the first state to ban e-cigarettes, it’s not the only government body to do so. Earlier this year San Francisco banned the sale of all e-cigarettes. Now the question is: Will other cities and states follow?