Judge blocks Gov. Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 7:45pm

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Alec Cohen/Daily

A Michigan judge blocked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s statewide ban on flavored nicotine vaping products by issuing a preliminary injunction against the ban on Tuesday.

When she issued the injunction, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said the Whitmer administration’s delay in implementing the ban contradicted its claim that youth vaping was a public health emergency. 

On Sept. 4, Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to declare the emergency rules due to the increase in vaping product usage among young adults. Stephens also said the ban would make adults more likely to use more harmful combustible tobacco products if the ban stayed in place.

Mark Slis, who owns a vape shop in Houghton, sued the state in late September, arguing the ban would force his business to close.

In a press release, Whitmer criticized the decision, saying she will go directly to the Michigan Supreme Court to request a final ruling.

“This decision is wrong,” Whitmer said. “It misreads the law and sets a dangerous precedent of a court second-guessing the expert judgment of public health officials dealing with a crisis. The explosive increase in youth vaping is a public health emergency, and we must do everything we can to protect our kids from its harmful effects. I plan to seek an immediate stay and go directly to the Supreme Court to request a quick and final ruling.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel supported Whitmer’s ban when it was first announced in September. In a statement released Tuesday, Nessel said vaping is a critical public health issue to address and vowed to defend the ban.

“We are resolute in our efforts on behalf of Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services to protect the health of Michigan’s children,” Nessel said. “The youth vaping crisis is an urgent public health matter that demands immediate action. To that end we are preparing to seek an immediate stay and will seek leave to appeal the judge’s decision directly to the Supreme Court.”

This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for more details