The Michigan House of Representatives passed a package of bills on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarette products that contain vitamin E acetate, which health officials say caused a swath of vape-related lung illnesses late last year.
“There has been a substantial amount of scientific evidence gathered to confidently suggest vitamin E acetate — the thick, chemical substance in vapor products — is the culprit behind serious lung injuries popping up across the country,” said Rep. Joe Bellino (R-17-Monroe) in a statement. Bellino was the sponsor of House Bill 5161, one of three bills in the package.
Vitamin E acetate is commonly found in vape products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. While it is safe to use when ingested in a supplement or on the skin, vitamin E can become harmful if inhaled, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has recommended that people using e-cigarettes to stop using products that contain THC.
As of January 21, 2020, reports show that more than 2,700 people have been hospitalized with vape-related lung illnesses across the country, in addition to 60 deaths across 27 states and Washington, D.C., according to the CDC.
“This is a serious epidemic,” Bellino said. “Given this chemical isn’t even a necessary component for vapor products to contain, there’s no reason for products containing vitamin E acetate to be on store shelves. This is the best response to ensure the health and well-being of our state.”
Two other bills in the package were sponsored by Reps. Abdulla Hammoud (D-15-Dearbon) and Frank Liberati (D-13-Allen Park).
“By passing these bipartisan bills today, we collectively took a step forward in our fight to protect the health and safety of Michigan residents, Hammoud said in a statement. “Vitamin E acetate is responsible for significant health issues and several deaths across our state and nation; this is a public health concern we cannot afford to brush off.”
The bills will now advance to the Michigan Senate for further consideration.
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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]