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Governor Whitmer Takes Bold Action to Protect Michigan Kids from Harmful Effects of Vaping
On September 4, 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer took aggressive action to protect Michigan kids from the harmful effects of vaping. These actions included making Michigan the first state in the nation to ban flavored nicotine vaping products.
What are e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is the name given to a group of battery-operated tobacco products that allow users to inhale aerosolized liquid (e-juice) containing nicotine and other substances.
The terms "e-cigarettes" and "e-cigs" are often used for electronic cigarettes, as well as for e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars. These products are also sometimes called "JUULs" (after a branded e-cigarette of the same name), "vapes," and "vape pens."
Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are made up of a battery-operated heating part — a cartridge (unit) that typically holds nicotine and other chemicals that change into a chemical-filled aerosol when heated.
Why are they so popular with kids?
Nationwide, youth use rates have skyrocketed. Today, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco products among those who are under the age of 18. In fact, experts classify them as a public health epidemic among that age group, both in Michigan and in the United States overall.
A recent analysis of Michigan county-level data shows a similar trend. In fact, many county rates in our state are higher than the national rates. (Note: Data changes frequently. If you would like information about usage in Michigan, please contact the MDHHS Tobacco Control Program at 517-335-8376 to request the most up-to-date data.)
The e-cigarette marketplace remains largely unregulated. In fact, tobacco industry companies continue to heavily advertise these products to young people, using methods that have long been prohibited for other tobacco products.
They offer cool, colorful and sleek product designs, along with thousands of flavors, all of which combine as part of the attraction for youth who believe widespread claims that these products are not addictive and are safe to use.
What does the law say about e-cigarettes?
In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began considering e-cigarettes a tobacco product and, as such, began prohibiting sales to minors. Specifically, the FDA Deeming Rule restricts youth access to tobacco products.
On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation raising the federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. This legislation — known as Tobacco 21 — was effective immediately.
In January 2020, the FDA issued an enforcement policy on unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors.
Call the FDA at 1-877-287-1373 to report sales to minors.
There are currently two laws in Michigan that govern e-cigarettes — Public Acts 17 and 18 of 2019.
Michigan Public Act 17 of 2019 (signed June 5, 2019; effective Sept. 2, 2019):
- Defines "liquid nicotine" and "liquid nicotine container;"
- Requires containers to meet a minimum safety standard; and
- Requires retail vapor products to be stored in a locked case or behind the counter.
Michigan Public Act 18 of 2019 (signed June 5, 2019; effective Sept. 2, 2019):
- Defines e-cigarettes, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, and other emerging tobacco products separately from tobacco products;
- Prohibits sale to minors; and
- Prohibits possession and use by minors.
If you have questions on federal rules or Michigan laws related to e-cigarettes, please contact the MDHHS Tobacco Control Program at 517-335-8376.
Health & safety concerns
While much remains to be determined about the lasting health consequences of e-cigarettes, there is evolving evidence about the health risks.
Liquid nicotine is harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Nicotine is an acute toxin. Symptoms of exposure to liquid nicotine include nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, seizures, and death. Call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or 9-1-1 immediately if liquid nicotine comes into contact with the skin or if liquid nicotine is swallowed.
Keep liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes locked up, out of sight, and out of reach. Make sure liquid nicotine is stored in child-resistant containers.
For more information, visit:
- American Association of Poison Control Centers: E-Cigarettes and Liquid Nicotine
- American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation: E-cigarette Explosions and Fires
- Prevent Child Injury: Liquid Nicotine Toolkit
Learn more information about e-cigarettes and what you can do
The MDHHS Tobacco Section recommends the following resources for those who want to learn more about e-cigarettes and what can be done to lessen their impact on the health of our youth and communities. To see the resources in a particular topic area, simply click on that title.
The Basics About E-Cigarettes
- The Facts on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults (Office of the U.S. Surgeon General)
- Electronic Cigarettes homepage (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Michigan's LGBT Community: Results of a First-Ever Tobacco Use Assessment Study, including Electronic Devices (MDHHS webinar, 2019)
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids website
- JUUL and Youth: Rising E-Cigarette Popularity (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
- JUUL and the Guinea Pig Generation: Public Health Concerns about Use by Young People (Public Health Law Center)
- Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Asthma (MDHHS)
- Fact Sheet: Are E-Cigarettes Safe to Use During Pregnancy? (MDHHS)
- Is It Safe to Use Electronic Cigarettes While Pregnant? (American Lung Association in Minnesota)
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about E-Cigarettes (MDHHS)
- Model resolution and regulation to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free places (MDHHS)
- Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know about E-Cigarettes (MDHHS)
- Fact Sheet: Vaping Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana (MDHHS)
- Marijuana and Pregnancy (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
Resources to Help You Quit
- For users younger than 18:
- My Life, My Quit: A FREE youth quit-tobacco and vaping program that offers real-time coaching sessions via live text messaging, online chat, or phone. Teens can sign up at https://mylifemyquit.com/ or text "Start My Quit" to 855-891-9989.
- Smokefree Teen: Free text message quit tobacco service. 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips. Teens can sign up at www.teen.smokefree.gov or text "QUIT" to iQuit (47848).
- Free Truth Initiative quit programs: This is Quitting or BecomeAnEx. Users can text "QUIT" to 202-804-9884.
Smoking Stinks: A youth quit smoking website containing free downloads, quizzes, quit tips, and more. Visit https://smokingstinks.org/.
- For users 18 and older:
- Michigan Tobacco Quitline: Users can sign up at https://michigan.quitlogix.org/en-US/ or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). Offers phone-plus-online, online-only, or phone-only quitting programs in English or Español.
Resources for Parents
- Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes & Young People — Facts from the Surgeon General's Report (CDC)
- Teachers and Parents: That USB Stick Might be an E-cigarette (CDC)
- Should I Talk to my Kids about Vaping? (Physician Advocacy Network; available in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish versions)
- JUULing: What Pediatricians and Families Need to Know (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- How to Talk with Your Kids about Vaping (Partnership for Drug-Free-Kids)
- E-Cigarettes: Talk to Youth About the Risks (CDC)
- Any Volunteers? The Risk of E-Cigarettes for Young People (CDC)
Tobacco is Changing — The Talk (Wisconsin Department of Health Services)
Resources for Schools (Teachers, Coaches, Counselors, Administrators)
- Model Policy on 24/7 Tobacco-Free Schools (Michigan State Board of Education)
- Template for Survey of Students & Parents Regarding E-Cigarettes & Vape Products (MDHHS)
- Recommendations for Schools, Including Alternative to Suspension, for Dealing with Student Tobacco Use (MDHHS)
- Create Tobacco-Free Schools (American Lung Association)
- The Real Cost of Vaping (Scholastic and FDA)
- The Tobacco Prevention Toolkit (Stanford Medicine)
- CATCH My Breath Youth E-Cigarette & JUUL Prevention Program (CATCH and The University of Texas Health Science Center)
- Teachers and Parents: That USB Stick Might be an E-Cigarette (CDC)
- Coaches’ Resource — Be Aware: E-Cigarettes (MDHHS)
- E-Cigarettes, "Vapes," and JUULs: What Schools Should Know (American Lung Association)
- Exchange Lab — evidence-based tobacco education print materials, web content and videos for use by state and local health officials, nonprofit organizations, and schools (Food & Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products)
- E-Cigarettes and Youth: What Educators and Coaches Need to Know (CDC)
- Regional School Health Coordinators in Michigan (Michigan School Health Coordinators' Association)
- Michigan Model for Health Curriculum (Grades Pre-K - 12) (MDHHS)
Resources for Health Professionals and School Health Services
- Health Care Professionals: Educate Your Young Patients About the Risks of E-Cigarettes (CDC)
- Fact Sheet: What Providers Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Asthma (MDHHS)
- JUULing: What Pediatricians and Families Need to Know (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- E-cigarettes, Vapes and JUULs — What Teens Should Know (American Lung Association)
- E-Cigarettes Shaped Like USB Flash Drives: Information for Parents, Educators, and Health Care Providers (CDC)
- E-cigarettes and Youth: What Health Care Providers Need to Know (CDC)
- Guidelines for Tobacco Treatment and Secondhand Smoke Exposure (MDHHS)
- Model Ordinances, Policies and Guidelines (American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation )
For more information about the impact e-cigarettes are having on Michigan and how you can get involved in public health efforts, please contact the MDHHS Tobacco Section at 517-335-8376 or your local health department.