Michigan's flavored nicotine ban goes into effect
NILES, Mich. -- Vapers in Michigan can no longer buy flavored e-cigarettes.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s flavored vaping ban went into effect overnight Wednesday.
It’s now illegal for vape and tobacco shops and online retailers to sell any vaping product with a “characterizing flavor” like cotton candy or mint.
“I just hope that the ban will only be a six month ban,” said vaper Redden Todd.
Todd is against the ban. She plans to drive to Indiana to get her Juul pods for the next six months but worries she may go back to smoking.
“I use the Juul,” said Todd. “I quit smoking about a year ago and I started with a five percent and I’ve worked my way down to the three percent. I think it is a good tool.”
The Cassopolis resident also works at a local gas station. She says they marked down their remaining supply to try and get rid of as much as they could.
Todd believes her store will stay in business but worries about the ban’s impact on stores that only sell vape and tobacco products.
“A lot of people have been buying up, stocking up on whatever they can because we do have to pull anything that has any kind of flavor to it,” said Todd. “We’ve been preparing that way. We’re taking a loss of course.”
Under the law, shops will not be able to describe vaping as safe, clean, harmless, or healthy either.
There are also restrictions on where vaping ads can be placed.
“I think it’s a good thing to ban,” said Cassopolis homeowner Linda Mourning.
Mourning is worried about the growing number of vaping lung injuries.
She wants the state and federal governments to more thoroughly research the short and long term health impacts of vaping.
“I think it’s alright that they have a choice whether or not to use it, but I think all these statistics and things should be put in place before they put these products on the market,” said Mourning.
Whitmer says the state faces a vaping crisis among kids which is why she issued the ban in September.
It lasts until March 30, 2020. It could be extended another six months before legislative action is required.
If retailers violate the rules, it could result in a misdeameanor that carries up to six months in jail, a $200 fine, or both.
“It’s like any other crime,” said Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz. “If there’s some indication of a violation, a misdemeanor violation is occuring, the police would be called, investigate, then they would submit a police report to our office for review. If we feel that there is a crime there, then we would make the decision whether or not to bring charges.”
Fitz says local police will enforce this law like any other.
“This office has always been agressive in making sure illicit substances are not provided to the public and currently that’s what this is,” said Fitz. “Flavored vapes are against the law and we intended to enforce that law. Persons that do violate it can expect to be prosecuted.”
To read the law, click here.