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Ban on sale of flavored nicotine vapes starts Wednesday

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It will be illegal to sell flavored nicotine products starting Weds., October 2.

Starting Wednesday, Michigan vape shops will have to stop selling flavored nicotine products.

The final rules of the ban were announced two weeks ago. They were put in place by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. The state says that young people vaping has become a public health crisis.

Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to impose the ban with the final rules being announced in mid-September. Shops were then given two weeks to clear out their inventory. The department says it can now only comment on the ban in writing because of multiple pending lawsuits challenging the ban.

But Chief Medical Executive, Joneigh Khaldun defended the ban at a public hearing called by Republican lawmakers on the issue in September.

“They particularly target youth and we’ve seen an explosive increase in youths specifically using the e-cigarettes, and that is why this is a public health emergency,” Khaldun said.

Vaping shops disagree. So far two lawsuits have been filed against the state arguing, among other things, that the ban won’t stop young people from vaping, but will cause shop owners to go bankrupt and close their doors because flavored products are such a large part of their inventory.

Ron Pease the CEO of Mister E-Liquid. The company makes and sells vaping products and has also filed a lawsuit against the state. Pease said what the state needs is responsible Legislation instead of a ban.

“Let’s have a conversation about the marketing,” he said in an interview. “Let’s have a conversation about how youth access the product and how they don’t.”

Judges have ruled that the ban can go forward for now, despite the pending lawsuits. Pease says he’ll follow the ban.

“It could mean that we move our multi-million dollar company out of the state of Michigan. It could mean that we shut the doors,” Pease said.

Retailers that violate the emergency rules can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face no more than six months in jail or a fine of up to 200 dollars, or both. The ban is in effect for 180 days, but it can be extended for another six months.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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