Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she intends to completely ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products in the state of Michigan. The Governor’s edict is not based on science or common sense. Science demonstrates that flavors are not the primary reason youth illegally use vapor products. Instead, research clearly shows that flavors play a critical role in helping adult smokers quit deadly cigarettes. The only thing this flavor ban will accomplish is the loss of more than 1,200 Michigan jobs, hundreds of Michigan small businesses, $51M in state and local taxes, and the creation of a black market.
The Vapor Technology Association 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.
Governor Whitmer indicates she intends to implement the ban through the Emergency Rule-Making process. This process will take at least 30 days, despite reports of the ban taking effect immediately. In addition, the rule is valid for 6 months and may be renewed only once for an additional 6 months. The VTA is working with legal counsel, our lobbying team in Lansing, and local business to attempt to prevent implementation. This unscientific action, based on false media narratives and hysteria, won’t address the underlying issues of youth vaping.