Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said earlier this week that she is willing to fight for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes all the way to the state Supreme Court after a judge on the Court of Claims blocked the state from banning flavored nicotine vapes.
Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, which appeal to youth and are believed to have been the cause of numerous deaths and illnesses around the country. The ban went into effect on October 2.
Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens ruled on Tuesday that the harm done to businesses selling vapes outweighs the interest of the state, according to the Detroit Free Press. Several e-cigarette businesses have come close to or have shut down stores because of lost sales.
Whitmer said in a statement that she is willing to go to a higher court for a final ruling.
“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,” Whitmer said. “I plan to seek an immediate stay and go directly to the Supreme Court to request a quick and final ruling.”
America has experienced 33 deaths and nearly 1,500 lung illnesses connected with the use of vape products, according to the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
There has also been a 900% increase in the use of nicotine vape products among middle and high school students between 2011 and 2015, according to Whitmer. In 2018, more than 3.6 million kids in the U.S. regularly used e-cigarettes.
“This decision is wrong. 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,” Whitmer said. “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. Enough is enough. Our kids deserve leaders who will fight to protect them.”
Vaping bans have received pushback from others outside Michigan, including from the Vapor Technology Association, which recently launched a campaign called “Vapers Do Vote.”
The campaign is aimed at getting voters to express their opposition to bans like the one in Michigan. VTA launched the website www.vapersdovote.com to encourage people to reach out to the federal government about the issue.
“Bans don’t work; they never have,” said Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and the Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Background Photo “Michigan Supreme Court” by Subterranean. CC BY-SA 3.0.