The vaping epidemic in Michigan has led many teens to become sick. According to the Michigan Department of Health, there was one death and 35 lung disease cases attributed to flavored nicotine liquid. This led Governor Gretchen Whitmer to put in place a ban that made the retail and online sale of flavored nicotine liquid illegal.
Whitmer’s purpose in implementing this ban on Sept. 20 was because she worried about teenagers’ health. The growing number of e-cigarette users has been a massive issue since companies started making pocket-sized vapes with juice flavors, such as grape and cherry that are very intriguing to teens. Jarrett Poppy, a senior at BHS, supports the idea that the majority of people who use e-cigarettes are kids who started vaping for the wrong reasons and not people who started to quit smoking cigarettes. Whitmer’s goal is that the ban will be successful in making e-cigarette use much less common among teens.
Principal Gavin Johnson said, “I had at least one student in my office every day for vaping at the start of the 2018/19 school year.” He also said the end of the 2017/18 year was bad as well. The pocket-sized devices are easy to conceal and have on you at all times. This allows kids to easily hide their e-cigarette at school. If you get caught with an e-cigarette at BHS the punishment is a two to four day suspension depending on the case. Johnson claimed that the ban that started in September didn’t affect students at BHS that much. He didn’t see a decrease in people in his office during the ban.
Dylan Andrews, a senior at BHS said, “Kids don’t believe they will become addicted after the first time they use an e-cigarette.” Teenagers don’t realize there is a lot more nicotine in the e-cigarette than they can handle. The higher levels of nicotine mean the bigger the effect nicotine has on the user.
One of the most common e-cigarettes used by teens is the Juul by Pax Labs. In one Juul pod, there is the same amount of nicotine that would be in a single pack of cigarettes. This drug in a convenient form makes becoming addicted incredibly easy.
Many Vape shops in Michigan struggled during the ban. A Clean Cigarette and 906 Vapor Vape shop sued the State of Michigan over the ban. They both claimed that before the ban, a majority of their profits came from flavored nicotine liquid and 906 Vapor even went out of business on October 4. Both of these companies sued the State which ultimately led a judge to put a temporary halt on the ban.
The halt started on Oct. 15, meaning that the ban lasted for less than a month. It was originally supposed to be for six months. Dylan Andrews thought the halt on the ban will once again make the use of e-cigarettes more common between teens. Although, he also contributed that the halt wasn’t fair on behalf of the people who started vaping to quit cigarettes like his father. He worried that his father would have gone back to traditional cigarettes, and he did not want that to happen.
In the end, having a ban on nicotine products will hurt the people who started using those products for the right reasons while having no ban will be hurting teens. Cities in Michigan such as Ann Arbor and Genesee County have raised the age to buy nicotine products from 18 to 21, a great start for making e-cigarettes less available to teens.