The injunction was issued by a Michigan Court of Claims judge following a lawsuit filed by a business owner who sells vape products.
Gov. Whitmer’s ban on vaping products went into effect on Sept. 18, following reports from the state health department of rising rates of teen vaping. Following that date, businesses had 14 days to comply with the ban, or they would be subject to potential jailing and a $200 fine.
However, in response to the ban, Marc Slis, the owner of 906 Vapor in Houghton, Michigan, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 27 to stop the state from enforcing the ban. Judge Cynthia Stephens issued the preliminary injunction, saying that Whitmer’s delay in implementing the ban undercut its position that emergency rules were needed.
In response to the news, the governor’s office said “There should be no question that we completely disagree” and said they would have more of a response shortly.
While business owners whose revenue relies on sales of vaping and vape-related products were concerned what the ban would do to business, the state determined rising rates among teens now vaping to be a public health emergency. They issued that news release earlier in September.
However, Stephens also said there is evidence that if flavored vaping products are prohibited, adults will return to using more harmful tobacco products.
Michigan was the first state to implement a ban on vaping products. Since then, New York, Rhode Island, and the federal government have also enforced their own bans. Concerns regarding vaping have exponentially increased following reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than 800 individuals had been hospitalized with lung-related illnesses. More than a dozen people have also died from vaping.
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However, the remains a lot of ambiguity among the causes of those deaths. Some researchers have pointed to adulterated THC products as the cause. This has led a collection of public health officials calling the ban “shortsighted” and would push teens who were vaping to either begin smoking cigarettes or purchase vape products from unregulated markets.
Some researchers have gone as far to say the concerns are overblown, and that teens who vape were already smokers.
“Kids vaping a lot are primarily either current cigarette smokers or former smokers. It’s far less hazardous than smoking (tobacco) and if they switched to vaping, that’s a net improvement,” said Dr. Kenneth Warner, former dean of the University of Michigan’s Public Health School.
However, MDHHS Bob Wheaton said the kinds of flavors labeled on these products were marketed to teens, and pushed them to start vaping.
“We’ve just seen sky-rocketing numbers among kids in middle and high school in recent years and what we’ve found was the flavored nicotine e-cigarettes are particularly appealing because of the flavor,” Wheaton said. “These flavors are designed to attract children to get them to start.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.