Canton Township Outlaws Vaping, Possession By Minors

June 27, 2018 - 5:26 pm

CANTON (WWJ) - It's now illegal for minors in Canton Township to possess or smoke e-cigarettes, vapor products or alternative nicotine products.

Officials say this means that residents and visitors under the age of 18 years old cannot have any of these products on a public highway, street, alley, park or other public property, or in a place of business or amusement in Canton.

Speaking to WWJ's Ingrid Kelley on Wednesday, Canton Police Officer Patty Esselink said spoke about what sparked approval of this new ordinance.

"With the increased popularity of vape products by minors, and the unknown of what are in those vape substances, the township determined it to be a health and safety concern," Esselink said, stressing that businesses in Canton are also prohibited from selling these products to minors.

While Michigan state law currently does not have a minimum age to possess vapor products, as it does with tobacco-based products, Esselink believes some neighboring municipalities will take notice. 

"We've seen an increase in vapes in popularity around the community, so in enforcing it within Canton, we will hope (to) send the message to other jurisdictions and encourage them to possibly follow suit with us."

Anyone who violates the new law will face a misdemeanor charge with a $50 fine for a first offense.

In a study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor experienced DNA damage to certain organs that could increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Because, researchers say, there are so many unknowns and there is no scientific evidence that vaping is safe, Mayo Clinic experts urge e-cigarette users to be cautious.

Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center notes that e-cigarette manufacturing is a relatively unregulated industry. And, while some people might think they are safe to vape, Dr. Hays says the harmful chemicals in that vapor are similar to tobacco smoke but at much lower levels.

"There are probably 600 different kinds you can purchase on the internet," Hays said. "There are 7-8,000 different solutions that you can purchase."

"It's safer, but it's not safe," he added, stressing: "What we don't know are what long-term effects will these lower-level toxicants have."