Michigan has become the first state to ban the sale of flavored nicotine cartridges for use in so-called “e-cigarettes,” or electronic cigarettes, Detroit’s WJBK-TV reports.
E-cigarettes have been a thing for over a decade now. Users use a machine that hits an oil with nicotine (or in some cases, cannabis) that turns into a vapor, inhaling it to get their “hit.” Some manufacturers produce nicotine oil that is flavored, with flavors such as strawberry, mint, or dozens of others.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer explained that the flavored nicotine oils attract teens and children who wouldn’t otherwise be tempted to try tobacco products. Health officials fear that teens will become hooked on the flavored nicotine and eventually switch to smoking actual tobacco, such as cigarettes.
“Bubble gum, fruit loops. These are flavors that are geared towards kids,” she says.
What’s more, manufacturers produce devices that resemble USB drives and can be easily hidden, making them an attractive option for people — say, teenagers — who want a nicotine fix without risking getting caught.
“They say their parents will never know because they plug in like a USB. This is deceptive; this is destructive and most importantly it’s compromising our kids’ health,” says Whitmer.
My number one priority is keeping our kids safe. Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe.
That ends today. https://t.co/qPJSb6OTZN
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 4, 2019
While the health effects of inhaling nicotine oil vs. smoking cigarettes are not fully understood as of this writing, the American Vaping Association insists that its products are “safer” in comparison to smoking burning tobacco leaves. This is a stance Whitmer claims is not borne out by the evidence.
In fact, over the past several weeks, people have been turning up in emergency rooms across the Midwest — and in at least two cases, on the East Coast — with severe respiratory problems after having used electronic vaporizer cartridges or, in a handful of cases, inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates. In some cases, patients were so sick that they had to get respiratory support in the intensive care unit.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Milwaukee has asked everyone in the city to stop vaping immediately, in response to the recent illnesses.
Michigan is taking things one step further. Whitmer’s order will ban online and retail sale of sweet, fruity, mint and menthol flavors of vaping products; ban “misleading” marketing and placing flavored nicotine products next to candy on the shelves; and the use of terms like “clean,” “safe,” and “healthy.” Further, the directive compels the Michigan Department of Transportation to forbid billboards along Michigan highways from being rented to companies that sell vaping products.
While the directives issued by Whitmer today are temporary, she hopes that the Michigan legislature will issue legislation to make the rules permanent.