'Gov. Whitmer Is Not A Queen': Legal Challenge Expected To Flavored Vape Ban

WWJ News
September 04, 2019 - 1:19 pm
vape products

LANSING (WWJ) - "If Governor Whitmer is allowed to get away with this, what will they ban next?"

That's the question on the mind of Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, following Gov. Gretchen Whimer's emergency order prohibiting the sale and marketing of flavored nicotine vaping products in Michigan. 

"What is going to be the next public health emergency? Fatty foods, cigarettes, alcohol, voter-passed marijuana laws?"

While Whitmer says her top priority is to keep children safe, Conley contends that in truth this ban will hurt law-abiding adults in Michigan.

He told WWJ Newsradio 950's Dan Jenkins that his group has been in touch with multiple parties, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who aren't happy about the ban over concerns that small vape shops could be put out of business. 

And there could be a plan in the works to take the state court.

"Unless Gov. Whitmer comes to her senses, which doesn't appear likely, there will be a court challenge," he said. "And I don't believe that any court in this country is going to say that it's ok for a governor to unilaterally ban a product being used by many, many adults and with good public health benefits as well."

Conley says health departments across the country are blaming the recent uptick in vaping illnesses on people using black market products that typically contain THC or other drugs, and are not purchased over-the-counter.

He contends that vaping is better health-wise than using a nicotine patch to help people quit smoking.

[Michigan Becomes First State To Ban Flavored E-Cigarette Products>

"In our view this is nothing more than a shameless backdoor attempt at prohibition," Conley said. "Governor Whitmer is not a queen, she's not a king, she can't just decide one day to ban an adult product that's used by likely hundreds of thousands of Michigan adults every single month."

Meanwhile, some other organizations are responding favorably to the ban. 

In a statement, the Michigan League for Public Policy said it joins health groups and children’s advocates around the state and the country in "applauding Whitmer’s efforts to end dangerous vaping and e-cigarette use amongst young Michiganders."

“With sweet and enticing flavors, questionable health claims and intentional marketing and advertisements targeting our kids, vaping is picking up right where traditional tobacco products left off and elected officials, public health advisors and child advocates are having to fight the same battles all over again. And what’s at stake—kids’ lives and healthy futures—is still the same, too," said the League's COO Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

"As the Michigan Kids Count organization, the League fights for positive policy changes to help Michigan’s youth, but we also stand up against nefarious and exploitative policies—and in this case, industries—that are intentionally going after our kids."

The ban, the first in the U.S., goes into effect immediately, although businesses will have 30 days to comply. It will last for six months, then can be renewed for another six months.