Democrat Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer used her executive authority this week to impose a six-month ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. She claims the move will help slow the trend of teen vaping. It won’t.
Setting aside the fact that there’s no teen vaping epidemic—either in Michigan or any other state—and that very few Michigan teens actually vape habitually or vape using nicotine (see my longer blog on that subject), Whitmer seems completely indifferent to the adult smokers who use e-cigarettes and flavored liquid as a means to quit smoking.
(read my policy focus which explains the difference between combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes).
It’s unfortunate for the people of Michigan that Gov. Whitmer and her staff missed the multiple (and easily googled) studies that have shown e-cigarettes have a far higher success rate in helping people permanently quit traditional cigarettes. It’s also tragic that they missed the recent study from the Centre for Substance Use Research that shows adult e-cigarette users prefer sweet and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes liquid – the very product that’s now banned in the state.
Guess which flavor isn’t banned in Michigan? Yup…tobacco flavor.
Why does this matter? A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine by British researchers found vaping (using fruit and sweet vape liquid) is twice as effective in helping smokers quit as nicotine patches and gum — the only two products currently approved by the FDA for smoking cessation. If adults prefer sweet and fruit flavored vape liquid over tobacco flavor, why would they switch over to vaping if the only option is tobacco flavor? Short answer: they won’t.
Michigan’s policy will end up driving former smokers back to traditional cigarettes. In fact, a recent study from Duke University found that the very public health efforts designed to limit the availability and appeal of e-cigarettes to young users could drive some existing users back to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
So, while Whitmer tries to reduce the mythical health crisis of teen vaping, she’s creating another health crisis in driving smokers back to cancer-causing cigarettes.
Considering the state of Michigan rakes in billions from the tax on the sale of traditional cigarettes, maybe Whitmer’s happy with this deadly, yet profitable, moneymaking scenario.