Michigan could be the first US state to ban all flavoured e-liquids and pre-filled pods in a move that has shocked the vaping world.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has invoked the rarely used Administrative Procedures Act, however, opponents are scratching their collective heads as to how this act could be used to impose a flavour ban.
The Governor’s press secretary told reporters the act could be triggered:
…without following the notice and participation procedures” that would otherwise apply when it “finds that preservation of the public health, safety, or welfare” requires it and the governor agrees.
You might have a sneaking suspicion this is all about ‘protecting the children‘ and given the Governor is a ‘soccer-mom‘ – as are so many of the anti-vaping brigade of America, you’d be right.
Whitmer’s move has led to her 15 minutes of fame and she told the media the decision came after talking to her own kids:
I’ve got teenagers at home, I was talking with them about the prevalence of vaping in their schools, and it’s everywhere.
It would be great if, at the federal level, we knew there was a [US] surgeon general warning on all vape products, that they were treated like tobacco, taxed like tobacco, but none of that is happening.
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.
Here’s more from the Governor calling youth vaping a “public health crisis”:
Less than four minutes of questions for a policy that will impact approximately 500,0000 Michigan adults and kill 1000-plus jobs. Zero regard shown for adult smokers. #mileg #ecigs #vaping #HarmReduction https://t.co/HDmGdDRfFb
— Gregory Conley (@GregTHR) September 4, 2019
The details of the ban are currently being written up and are expected to be completed ‘within weeks’ and could be imposed with immediate effect and likely unopposed due to its ’emergency nature’.
Ban Imposed Due To “Public Health Crisis”
The decision was taken last Friday through a “Finding of Emergency” that came from the Governor and the Department of Health and Social Services.
The opening paragraph tells you all you need to know about the reason for this shock announcement…it’s all about protecting the kids [groans]:
…the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services finds that the State of Michigan faces a vaping crisis among youth and recommends the promulgation of emergency rules to address this crisis.
And as you can expect the rest of the document reads like a horror script as to the effects vaping can have on a developing brain…and concludes with the word that triggers the anti-vape brigade…epidemic:
This epidemic can therefore be attributed in large part to the appeal of flavored vapor and alternative nicotine products to youth as well as the advertising and promotional activities by companies that glamorize use of nicotine products nationwide.
One word…Bollox…but hey that’s not helpful though it was good to say 😉
Flavour Ban Condemned By Politicians and Vape Advocates
As you might expect, vape advocacy groups and a handful of Michigan politicians are lining up to condemn the ban order.
These include State Rep. Matt Maddock, Republican, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, who described it as “Orwellian” and said the Governor was simply “dismantling a legal industry” – wise words.
A spokesman for the Vapor Technology Association said:
The VTA will evaluate every option at its disposal, including litigation, to prevent implementation of this ban.
The Governor’s unprecedented misstep will force a mass exodus of products from the market and will result in what the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) itself has described as “a public health crisis” as a result.
The quarter of a million adult vapor users in Michigan will now be unfairly limited in their access to these life-changing smoking cessation products.
Moreover, flavor bans like this one ignore the larger issue of improper marketing by outlier companies – which is where the focus should lie to thwart youth access and exposure to vapor products.
This is the reason why not a single state has implemented a flavor ban to date.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, told the media the fight to stop the ban begins now:
This shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition will close down several hundred Michigan small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes.
These businesses and their customers will not go down without a fight.
We look forward to supporting the lawsuits that now appear necessary to protect the right of adults to access these harm reduction products.
I guess once again in a country known for litigation for pretty much everything, the only winners here will once again be the lawyers.
The simple fact is, the less people that smoke, the less cash coming in from Big Tobacco and with vaping getting a foothold and saving smokers lives, it’s all about the money honey – and NOT saving the kids – brutal but simple.
As Kimberley, the owner of Michigan based Moose Jooce Vape Shops states, there’s a far more alarming and deadly ‘health crisis’ facing Michigan and that’s a meth epidemic.
She has to openly carry a gun whilst at work to protect herself and business from marauding meth addicts hell-bent on trying to rob her.
Check out her tweet for the reality of life in Michigan:
I have to conceal carry in my vape shops because of the meth epidemic in Northern Michigan….and Gov. Whitmer is worried about VAPING?? I never had a vaper come over the counter at me for a fix….yet vaping is the problem?
— Moose Jooce Vape Shops (@manor_kimberly) September 4, 2019
I guess tackling meth addicts and other hardcore drugs isn’t as sexy as banning vaping – nor does it attract widespread media attention…
Shame on you Governor…shame on you.
Final Word On the Michigan Flavour Ban
I said at the beginning, Michigan being the first to ban all flavours is a bit of a shock, to say the least.
My money was on San Francisco – New York tried but failed, and whilst other similar banning legislation is going through the various committees across America, I never saw this one coming.
The move is on shaky ground for sure and let’s hope the advocacy groups and a handful of supportive politicians, get this crazy if not criminal ban blocked.
I wrote a post vape ban short story last Christmas – The Rise of the Vapesters – where in a dystopian future, vaping in America is criminalized and the gangsters move in selling black market e-liquid and vape gear.
A recent death and spate of respiratory diseases caused by illicit street bought THC cartridges has shown just how dangerous bans like this will be. Lives are at risk and not just those vapers returning to smoking or indeed smokers wanting to quit.
So forgive me for having a wry smile at this photo I found of soccer mom anti-vape Governor Whitmer’s Twitter feed:
As you can see – the logo on the mug reads:
Dam it feels good to be a MICHIGANGSTER
Yeah, I guess it does, because if this ridiculous flavour ban goes through, you’re opening up an extremely profitable but deadly black market of e-liquid the gangsters I’m sure will be more than willing to cash in on…and we know how that scenario ends.
Like I said, shame on you Governor…