Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made Michigan the first state to ban flavored vaping products.
On Wednesday, the governor ordered the Michigan Department is Health and Human Services to issue emergency rules to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products in stores and online.
This is an aggressive move against a popular but controversial cigarette substitute. And Whitmer’s move comes comes after Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun made a finding that youth vaping constitutes a public health emergency.
“It’s about getting these products out of the hands of our youth,” Khaldun tells Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today.
“We’re now seeing severe respiratory problems” connected to vaping, including deaths, says Khaldun. “We have six of those cases that we’re investigating right here in the state of Michigan.”
Local vape retailers say these emergency rules would hit their businesses hard.
“Flavor is everything,” says Billy Dabish of Detroit Smoke and Vape, who says flavored vape products make up about 40 percent of his store.
“If they banned it, honestly, I’m just going to throw everything away,” he continues. “I don’t want no problems or anything. I’m going to really throw it away. I’m going to lose 40 percent of my store.”
Critics of the move have questioned whether the governor has unilateral authority to ban a product without the state Legislature passing a law.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office tells WDET that the governor does have ample authority to issue these emergency rules.
On what authority gov has to ban a product (flavored vaping) through a directive without statute, AG’s office says “Michigan law grants the Department of Health and Human Services broad rulemaking powers to safeguard public health and prevent the spread of diseases” #mileg @wdet pic.twitter.com/u96r6VfKvr
— Jake Neher (@GJNeher) September 4, 2019
In an email, Nessel spokesperson Dan Olsen writes: “Michigan law grants the Department of Health and Human Services broad rulemaking powers to safeguard public health and prevent the spread of diseases, such as lung disease and heart disease. MCL 333.2226(d). Moreover, state agencies may develop and implement emergency rules whenever there is an emergency that endangers public health, safety, or welfare. MCL 24.248.”