Under the direction of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, on September 18, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services filed the final set of emergency rules that prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping juices in our state. The rules are effective immediately. Retailers have 14 days to remove banned products from their inventory before they are subject to six months in jail and a $200 fine.
To gather public input on the ban, the Michigan House Oversight Committee held a hearing on September 10. Harshini Jayasuriya, MD, FAAFP (Dr. Hershey) testified in support of the ban on behalf of MAFP, addressing the dangers of marketing these products to the state's youth and their use among this population. Click here to watch a recording of the committee hearing (Dr. Hershey’s testimony begins near the 55 minute mark). MAFP also submitted a letter in support of the ban.
The emergency rules will remain in effect for six months and can be extended for an additional six months. MDHHS has also filed a Request for Rulemaking, which would allow the department to promulgate permanent rules. This full rulemaking process will offer opportunities for the public to share input, during which MAFP will remain involved.
At the federal level, President Trump has called for a similar ban as the number of lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products continues to increase. The CDC reports that, as of September 17, there have been 530 cases in 38 states, including Michigan, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and seven deaths.
Also this week, Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Ending New Nicotine Dependencies (ENND) Act, which would ban e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco, specify e-cigarette design standards, monitor the public health risks of using tobacco products, apply existing cigarette taxes to e-cigarettes, and direct HHS to educate the public about health implications of using e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Food and Drug Administration will outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods—excluding tobacco flavors—from the market.
Physicians are encouraged to report possible cases of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung illness to their local or state health department for future investigation – click here for detailed instructions.