Michigan prepares to ban flavored nicotine vaping – again – without legislative approval


Flavored nicotine vaping liquids at Detroit Smoke & Vape in Midtown. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Flavored nicotine vaping liquids at Detroit Smoke & Vape in Midtown.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is working on another statewide ban on flavored nicotine vaping products after her emergency order was struck down by courts.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is holding a virtual public hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to solicit public comments on its proposal to permanently ban the sale and distribution of flavored nicotine vaping products. MDHHS is accepting comments until Friday.

The hearing is the first step required to impose a ban, which state officials support to crack down on the rise in youth vaping.

“MDHHS is proceeding with permanent administrative rules preventing the sale and advertisement of flavored nicotine vapor products in the state to protect the health and safety of Michiganders, particularly our youngest residents,” MDHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin tells Metro Times. “The explosive and unprecedented rise in youth vaping continues to be a public health emergency and a nationwide epidemic.”

Whitmer issued an executive order to ban flavored Michigan in September 2019, becoming the first state to ban flavored nicotine vaping products. But a Michigan Court of Claims judge issued an injunction requested by vape shop owners, who argued Whitmer overstepped her authority by imposing a ban without the approval of state lawmakers. The Michigan Supreme Court last month denied the state’s request to reconsider the lower court’s ruling.

The crackdown came amid an unrelated outbreak of severe lung illnesses caused by tainted marijuana vaping products, causing many people to conflate the two issues.

Vaping advocates say the ban is misdirected and will most impact former cigarette smokers who kicked the habit with e-cigarette vape liquid, which generally is considered less harmful. They also say the state does not have the authority to impose a ban without legislative approval.

The ban is likely to end up in court.

To tune into Tuesday’s hearing, click here or call 248-509-0316 and type in the conference ID (427 286 50) at 9 a.m. The public may also comment via email at MDHHS-AdminRules@michigan.gov or by postal mail at MDHHS – Bureau of Legal Affairs, 333 S. Grand Avenue, 5th Floor, Lansing, MI, 48909.

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