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Bill to prevent another vaping ban gets committee hearing in Michigan legislature

Some lawmakers want to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from issuing rules restricting access and use of vaping products. Lawmakers debated the bill in front of a House committee Tuesday.

This comes after MDHHS issued emergency rules banning the sale and manufacturing of flavored vaping products.

Ken Fletcher is with the American Lung Association in Michigan. He says young people vaping is an “epidemic.”

The Lung Association supports Governor Whitmer’s decision to take bold action to protect kids by combatting e-cigarette use, and especially support the rule to end sales of all flavored e-cigarettes including mint and menthol,” Fletcher told committee members.

But opponents of the ban say the state shouldn’t punish adults who are trying to quit smoking

“Flavors are the key to quitting, that drives everybody back to smoking, to a black market, including our youth,” says Mark Slis, owner of 906 Vapor. He is suing the state to overturn the ban.

Committee chair, Rep. Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills) says the ban on flavored vaping products is a big issue for his constituents.

“We had more emails in the month of September on that than we had on the budget,” he told reporters after the hearing. “So, it’s a lot of folks who are saying this is the way I was able to stop smoking.

In a statement, Whitmer Communications Director Zack Pohl said the governor took “bold action” to protect young people from vaping. He said it’s a public health emergency and the bill, “stands in the way of crucial efforts to protect our kids from its harmful effects.”

“It should be no surprise to anyone that the governor plans to veto any legislation that restricts the administration’s authority to protect people from a public health emergency,” Pohl said.