Michigan Becomes First State To Ban Flavored E-Cigarette Products

By Victoria Kim 09/05/19

The ban will also affect the marketing of flavored e-cig products in the state.

Flavored E-Cigarette Products
ID 81765813 © Elizabeth Cummings | Dreamstime.com

Michigan just became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarette products, including menthol.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the move will protect young people from the potential harmful effects of vaping. E-cigarette companies have been accused by health officials of targeting young people, enticing them with colorful packaging and candy flavored e-juice like “Sour Double Rainbow” and “Cinnamon Roll.”

“My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” said Whitmer on Tuesday (Sept. 3).

Michigan is the first state to issue a ban on certain e-cigarette products, but in June San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale and distribution of all vaping products, CBS News reported at the time.

Rising Number of Vaping-Related Illnesses

Authorities are investigating a growing number of lung illnesses that have been tied to vaping both nicotine and THC products. The Washington Post reported last Friday (Aug. 30) that there are now up to 354 possible cases being investigated across 29 states.

The sudden onset of “mysterious” cases that have cropped up this summer have led some health experts to suspect that adulterants are the common denominator.

The CDC and FDA issued a statement last Friday warning e-cigarette users against purchasing these products “off the street,” and to avoid modifying e-cigarette products in a way not intended by the manufacturer.

Young people like Maddie Nelson have become the face of these sudden and severe illnesses. The 18-year-old from Utah was healthy until she began experiencing nausea, vomiting and chest pain in July. Then, it was severe back and kidney pain.

“My temperature was so high, my brain just totally shut off,” she told Fox 13.

X-rays revealed severe lung damage, and she was placed in a medically-induced coma.

She was diagnosed with acute eosinophilic pneumonia, a rare lung illness. “I had fat particles growing inside my lungs that were related to the glycerin in vape juice,” she said. “My lungs were full of fluid and they said that my chest x-rays were some of the worst that they’d ever seen.”

Nelson said she had vaped every day for three years.

Nelson is not the only such case in Utah, which has reported at least 21 possible cases of these illnesses.

Sean Bills, 31, was also placed in a medically-induced coma this summer after falling ill with lipoid pneumonia, which doctors also suspect is tied to vaping. His wife, Tiffani Bills, said the couple had vaped every day for two years.

Discouraging New Users

Even the CEO of Juul, Kevin Burns, who has faced a barrage of criticisms regarding his company’s marketing of e-cigarette products to young people, warned people against picking up the habit in August.

Addressing people who “don’t have a preexisting relationship with nicotine,” Burns said, “Don’t vape. Don’t use Juul… You’re not our target customer.” Burns also acknowledged that the long-term health impact of vaping is unknown.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr