Michigan introduces new vape ban

Parker Hopkins, Digital Editor-in-Chief

Michigan is set to introduce a new law which bans the sale of flavored vape products. This comes after six lung infections in the state that are possibly related to e-cigarette use, and over 200 nation-wide. To date, there have also been at least five deaths related to vaping.

“The FDA is currently doing testing right now and back in the day, when smoking was really popular, everyone smoked but they didn’t know the damage they were causing; they didn’t know cigarettes had carcinogens in it,” Shelby Township Police Officer Jim Malczewski said. “As time went on, more testing was done and they realized smoking was bad for your health and bad for your lungs. Vaping is so new that they haven’t run all the tests.”

On Sept. 4, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan to ban flavored vape products in Michigan. The ban comes from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which is concerned about the use of vape products by middle and high school students. Soon after, on Sept. 11, the Trump administration announced a ban e-cigarette flavors.

“I think it’s a scourge, I think it’s a [bigger] problem. I’m glad our Governor has taken the stand she is, and I’m actually glad that the President of the United States is suggesting he’s going to take a similar stand,” principal Tom Lietz said. “There’s a lot that can change between now and then, but the fact that there are 30 year old kids that are dying because their lungs don’t work–because they’re sucking stuff in that no one knows what it is, or what the impact of it is, and even if they did, they’d know it’s based on nicotine which means its not good or THC–it’s not good.”

The main focus of this ban is to protect kids and teens who are targeted by flavors like ‘cotton candy’ and ‘unicorn frappe.’ Earlier this year, Whitmer signed a law making it illegal to sell vape products to minors, and this ban is just the next step in her plan to protect youth.

“As governor, my number one priority is keeping our kids safe,” Whitmer said. “And right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today. Our kids deserve leaders who are going to fight to protect them. These bold steps will finally put an end to these irresponsible and deceptive practices and protect Michiganders’ public health.”

Changes have also been seen in the school since the beginning of the year. New signs that prohibit vaping, as well as recording, in bathrooms were put up before the school year started.

“What we’re really doing is more of a deterrent game sadly, where we make the consequences such that hopefully people don’t want to do it. What we’ve seen at Utica High School is the number of kids that we’ve had to discipline for vape like behavior has decreased over the past three years,” Lietz said. “Now that we’ve put those signs out I have no problem whatsoever dropping the hammer on somebody who is doing those things in there.”

While there is opposition to the ban from two Republican lawmakers, there is still a lot of support from parents, teachers and students.

“I think it’s smart,” senior Daniella Russo said. “It will protect kids from starting bad habits and increase motivation in school.”

The ban went into effect Oct. 2, 2019.