A judge has temporarily blocked Michigan’s new flavored vaping ban, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer immediately announced her intention to challenge the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court.
“The decision is wrong,” Whitmer said in a statement released Tuesday. “It misreads the law and sets a dangerous precedent of a court second-guessing the expert judgment of public health officials dealing with a crisis.”
“Enough is enough,” she added. “Our kids deserve leaders who will fight to protect them.”
Whitmer said she will seek a “quick and final ruling” from the Michigan Supreme Court.
“The explosive increase in youth vaping is a public health emergency, and we must do everything we can to protect our kids from its harmful effects,” she continued. “I took bold action last month to protect public health, and several states and the White House have followed Michigan’s lead because they know how urgent this is.”
The new rules were only in effect for two weeks before a state judge temporarily struck them down. The American Vaping Association announced in September its intention to challenge the new measure, which bans retailers from selling flavored vaping products.
“We don’t think she has the authority to do this, and there will be a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction filed before this can take effect,” said American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley, as The Michigan Star reported.
“They aren’t elected to make unilateral decisions to ban products. Imagine what else a governor could ban if this is approved by the Michigan court system,” Conley added.
Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephen granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday to a coalition of vape shop owners who sued to block the new rules. Stephens said the facts leaned “in favor granting relief” and prohibited the state from enforcing the ban “until further order of this court,” according to The Detroit News.
In her ruling, she criticizes the state for its failure to take action earlier and writes that there is “no genuine emergency.”
“The court finds that defendants’ lengthy period of inaction, combined with the old data, undermines the emergency declaration in this case,” she said. “Indeed, an agency cannot create an emergency by way of its own failure to act.”
Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban flavored vaping products when it declared a public health emergency on September 4.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen an explosive increase in the number of Michigan kids exposed to vaping products,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for Michigan, said at the time. “This is a public health crisis. These products can contain harmful chemicals that put our kids’ health at risk.”
The White House then announced its intention to ban flavored vaping products at the federal level, citing an “epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.”
“I’m glad this administration is doing the right thing and following Michigan’s lead to ban flavored vaping products,” Whitmer said in response. “Banning these flavors is a bold step that will keep our kids healthy and safe from the harmful effects of vaping. I’m proud that Michigan has been a leader on this issue, and I’m ready to continue working to protect our kids and our public health.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Vaping” by Vaping360. CC BY 2.0.