Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes has hit a snag. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, saying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s delay in implementing the ban undercut her position that emergency rules were needed. In addition, Stephens pointed to evidence that adults will use more harmful combustible tobacco products if flavored vaping products are banned.
Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes took effect on Sept. 18, giving businesses 14 days to comply by removing the products from shelves. The owner of a shop in Houghton, Marc Slis, then filed a lawsuit to stop the state from enforcing the ban.
Michigan was the first state to ban vaping products, but New York and Rhode Island have since taken similar action. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports hundreds of people have been hospitalized for lung-related illnesses. More than a dozen people have also died from causes related to vaping.
Gov. Whitmer issued the following statement following the ruling:
“This decision is wrong. It misreads the law and sets a dangerous precedent of a court second-guessing the expert judgment of public health officials dealing with a crisis. The explosive increase in youth vaping is a public health emergency, and we must do everything we can to protect our kids from its harmful effects. I plan to seek an immediate stay and go directly to the Supreme Court to request a quick and final ruling. I took bold action last month to protect public health, and several states and the White House have followed Michigan’s lead because they know how urgent this is. Enough is enough. Our kids deserve leaders who will fight to protect them. That’s exactly what I’m doing today.”
Michigan Attorney General also issued a statement, supporting the governor’s decision:
“We are resolute in our efforts on behalf of Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services to protect the health of Michigan’s children. The youth vaping crisis is an urgent public health matter that demands immediate action. To that end we are preparing to seek an immediate stay and will seek leave to appeal the judge’s decision directly to the Supreme Court.”