First State to Ban Flavored Vaping Products
“My number one priority is keeping kids safe”, Governor Gretchen Whitmore said in a statement announcing the ban. The ban will include all flavored products. The move, fully supported by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, is aimed at keeping kids away from the products. The ban will be imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service and will prohibit the retail and online sales of all flavored vape products containing nicotine. Tobacco-flavored or unflavored products will not be included. The ban was executed through the administrative rules process in Michigan where rules process allows individual state agencies to create policies or regulations that will act as laws once authorized.
30 Days to Comply with the rule
The flavored vaping ban will last for six months and affected businesses in Michigan will be given 30 days to comply with the rule. The ban follows a recent discovery that vaping among youth could lead to a public health emergency for the state. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is reviewing the recent national wave of lung illnesses related to the use of e-cigarette products. It is believed that e-cigarette related lung illnesses have affected at least 200 people across the country, with one death in Illinois resulting believed to have resulted from the use of the product. Youth cigarette users report that the appealing flavor options were what interested them in the products.
The flavored vaping ban will also prohibit e-cigarette companies from marketing the flavored products in a misleading manner. The companies will have to change the language when marketing and will not be able to use words like “safe”, “healthy”, or “clear”. Although companies that sell vape products work to distinguish themselves from cigarette products, they are closely tied to the tobacco industry. Flavored products are not new. Tobacco companies have used flavors in the past that have interested youth and encouraged use of the products.
While Whitmer’s move has prompted support from health organizations and members of the Democratic party, advocates for vape products intend to challenge the ban. The American Vaping Association’s president, Gregory Conley, has stated that the ban is an attempt at backdoor prohibition. According to Conley, the rule could send tens of thousands of those who have kicked the habit of smoking back to combustible cigarette use.
State Representative Beau LaFave said that Whitmer was stripping the rights away from law abiding adults by banning the products that serve as smoking alternatives. In previous legislation, Michigan banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Members of the state Senate have decided not to challenge the ruling. The view for many is that the governor should have the ability to declare a public health emergency and once the emergency is declared, it is then her responsibility to enact a response.
THC and Vaping
Devices for vape products are not just used for nicotine. They can also be used for THC vaping. THC is the chemical that causes the mind-altering effects of marijuana. The products can also be found in the form of cannabis infused oil. One study found that 18 percent of study participants vaped marijuana, and one in four students have used both marijuana and e-cigarettes at the time of the study. Students were more likely to report using marijuana in flower form rather than an oil or wax. In a national survey of teens, it was reported that less than 10 percent vaped marijuana.
Although there is not a lot of data on the trend, the perception seems to be that the use of smokeless devices carries a small risk and may actually lead to the device being used to enjoy marijuana. Being aware that young people are using vape devices to consume marijuana is important for parents and youth advocates. Parents should know that THC vaping does not produce the same smell that marijuana smoked through a joint or pipe produces. When a vape product is used, the consumption of THC could be a bit higher.
Relation to Cigarettes
It is believed that flavor vaping is one of the reasons high schoolers vaped; the second reason is curiosity. In 2018, one in five seniors in high school reported that they vaped at least once in the previous month. Research shows that the use of e-cigarettes may be effective in predicting the future use of combustible cigarettes so bans on flavors might be effective in reducing e-cigarette consumption in teens and thus reduce the future use of cigarettes.