Vaping and e-cigarettes may be facing a ban in Michigan

MARQUETTE COUNTY — Vaping and e-cigarettes may be facing a ban in the coming month that could change the landscape for many individuals across the state of Michigan through their health and financials.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday she was moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products in Michigan by issuing an emergency rule.
Under the emergency declaration, that rule can exist for six months and can be renewed for an additional six months before going through the state’s administrative rules process, which is overseen by the legislature.
This rule would ban the sale of E-liquids and E-Cigarettes in stores and online if the governor moves forward with this ban which has been set up as a response to protecting Michigan’s children from this health emergency.

“They are going to be forbidden from selling vaping products that are candy flavors to hook the children on nicotine,” said Mike Prusi, Director of Governors Northern Michigan Office. “They are also going to be banned from making misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. Right now they are selling flavors that are like bubble gum, apple juice and different candy flavors that are basically being marketed to underage consumers.”

Not only would this make these products illegal but it will also be putting many businesses out of business.

“It is going to shutdown hundreds if not thousands of small businesses,” said Eric Curtis, Owner of Rustic Vapor. “We are small businesses and we are not big tobacco, we are not big industry or anything. We are a bunch of small businesses that are trying to help people make the switch from combustible cigarettes, which we know kills  thousands of people daily, to an alternative that hasn’t been proven to kill anyone.”

In Michigan, the Department of Health and Human Services has been reviewing six cases involving respiratory illnesses associated with e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Although with such low statistics of harm coming to individuals using vaping products or e-cigarettes, a ban on standard cigarettes have yet to be placed.
Even though cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, yet it has no such ban being placed on the product.
Cigarettes are accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.
Business owners argue that there isn’t a ban on this harmful past time due to tax money being accepted on the other products.

“It is because they are getting tax money on it,” explained Curtis. “They are getting money for the Cigarette Tax and all the sales from that. But they haven’t taxed electronic cigarettes. So they are not getting their revenue from it.”

Tobacco tax is a tax imposed upon the consumer of tobacco products at the time of purchase. The Michigan Tobacco Products Tax Act PA 327 of 1993 as amended sets specific requirements for licensing, stamping, collecting and remittance of the tobacco taxes. The Act provides civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Tobacco Tax Act.
The Cigarette tax rate is .10 per (10 cents) individual stick or $2.00 per pack of 20.

Other Tobacco Products such as Cigars, non-cigarette smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco tax rate is 32% of the wholesale price which is the price charged by the manufacturer including the federal taxes before any discounts.
In 2017, 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (14.0%) currently* smoked cigarettes.
This means an estimated 34.3 million adults in the United States are currently smoke cigarettes.
Although the vaping products among high school students increased by 78% from 2017 to 2018, and rose by 48% among middle school students during that same time period, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA believes the sharp increase stems from the use of USB-flash-drive-like e-cigarettes, including the JUUL products, which have become majorly popular among young people.
With the popularity of these products gaining a large attraction the Governor’s take on the situation is to protect the children and risk the chance of small businesses losing their viability which has been sustained through the variety of flavors that these products offer.

“The governors interest is more focused on the safety our young people and the banning of these flavors, I don’t know how many adults are actually smoking bubble gum vaping products, but they will still have the opportunity to purchase nicotine related vaping products. They will just not be able to buy the candy flavored and the ones specifically being geared too attract young smokers.”

Although efforts to decrease the influence of vaping and E-cigarette products towards young adults have been taken and looked to have very little affect. Leaving more than 3.6 million kids reported using e-cigarettes in the country in 2018, according to the FDA.

ABC 10 will continue to update the progress of the ban on specific vaping products.