Monday, June 1, 2020

From Michigan to Washington, D.C., flavored vape ban affects nation

September 19, 2019
<p>Flavored vape products soon to be off the shelves after emergency rules initiated by the state of Michigan, the first of their kind.</p>

Flavored vape products soon to be off the shelves after emergency rules initiated by the state of Michigan, the first of their kind.

Photo by State News File Photo | The State News

The flavored vape ban went nationwide after the Trump administration announced a halt on the production of non-tobacco flavors on Sept. 11. 

 “The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Alex Azar — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, Secretary — said in a statement

Dates and details on the ban are “coming soon” from the FDA, according to HHS. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer praised the move on Twitter. 

History education junior Andrew Hassell said he agrees with the policy as initiated.

“Cigarettes and vapes are getting into the hands of young people, and I think that it can be detrimental to the development of those young people,”  Hassell said. “I think that it’s dangerous to have those products flavored in such a way that it makes them enticing to kids.”

At least 380 vaping-related respiratory illnesses have been reported, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Sept. 16, the seventh vaping-related death was confirmed by Tulare County, California health officials. 

CDC officials haven’t yet tied down a specific product associated with the illnesses. Investigations in New York have a lead on vitamin E acetate suspected to be in counterfeits of marijuana-containing vape products.

On Sept. 15, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a similar ban on flavored products. 

While health officials are sounding the alarm, smoke shops in the Lansing and East Lansing areas aren’t convinced. 

Meagan Pederson, manager of Puff Puff Smoke Shop in East Lansing, says she opposes the ban because of what it does for business. 

“Almost everything we sell are (disposable vape pens) and vape juice,” she said. 

Pederson also said she believes the ban is ineffective at achieving its goals. 

“If kids can get Juul pods, kids can get cigarettes,” she said. “I really don’t think that this ban is going to be doing much in terms of stopping kids from getting nicotine.”

Wild Bill’s Tobacco, a Michigan-based national smoke and vape shop chain, is encouraging its patrons to oppose the proposed flavor ban. 

The front page of the Wild Bill’s Tobacco website features a banner ad encouraging visitors to call Gov. Whitmer’s office and demand an end to the flavored vape ban.

Joe Leija, the digital marketing and media manager for Wild Bill’s Tobacco, said the solution to youth vaping is enforcing age restrictions, not banning flavors.

Bipartisan legislation on raising the tobacco age to 21 was introduced in January. Sponsors of the bill spoke to The State News about the proposed legislation earlier this month. 

The Department of Health and Human Services cites a National Youth Tobacco survey as its reasoning for banning flavored vape products. 

“The preliminary data show that more than a quarter of high school students were current (past 30 day) e-cigarette users in 2019,” the press release said, “and the overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users cited the use of popular fruit and menthol or mint flavors.”

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