New laws on nicotine products; e-cigs are next

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Senate Bills 106 and 155, which clarify that it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and other non-traditional nicotine products to minors.

In her signing message to the Legislature, Governor Whitmer criticized the legislation for not going far enough to protect Michigan’s kids from nicotine addiction, calling it “a mistake” to separate e-cigarettes from the Youth Tobacco Act’s definition of “tobacco products.”

In 2018, 21% of American high school students and 5% of middle school students—children as young as 12—reported having used e-cigarettes or other vape products in the last 30 days. And these rates are climbing fast: fueled by the availability of flavors akin to Fruit Loops, Fanta, and Nilla wafers, e-cigarette sales to high school students increased 78% from 2017 to 2018.

“This is an important step in protecting public health and keeping tobacco products out of the hands of our kids, but we have to keep working to ensure that minors don’t have access to any tobacco products, including harmful e-cigarettes,” said Whitmer. “That includes raising the legal age for purchasing these products to 21, curtailing internet sales of e-cigarettes, and banning the marketing of all tobacco products to children. I’m ready to keep working with the legislature to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our kids and our public health.”

In response to what she called a “public health crisis,” Governor Whitmer also announced that she is asking the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to marshal the most recent science to provide recommendations on how Michigan should regulate e-cigarettes and similar products going forward. She’s also asked the Michigan Department of Treasury to consider these recommendations, and determine whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s reasons for deeming e-cigarettes to be tobacco products should also apply to Michigan law on the licensing and taxation of tobacco products.

Senate Bills 106 and 155 passed in the Michigan Senate on April 23, 2019 and passed in the Michigan House on May 15, 2019.

See the signing statement sent to the Michigan Legislature below:

 

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