State Rep. Joe Bellino today testified before the House Regulatory Reform Committee in support of his bipartisan plan protecting Michiganders from lung-related injuries associated with vapor products containing vitamin E acetate.
The Monroe lawmaker said his legislation is in response to the recent spike in reported health injuries nationwide caused by e-cigarettes.
“There is now scientific evidence that vitamin E acetate – the thick, chemical substance in vapor products – is a culprit behind serious lung injuries of patients across the country,” Bellino said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began working with state and local health departments in July to investigate an increase of lung-injury hospitalizations linked to vaping products. As of October 2019, there have been 867 reports of patients with vapor-borne illnesses. Of those patients, 86 percent reported using a THC product at some time in the previous three months. Of the fluid samples taken from 29 of the patients, all contained vitamin E acetate.
Bellino said vitamin E acetate is commonly used in THC-containing vapor products, and that research has suggested inhaling the chemical can interfere with normal lung functions and cause serious health problems.
Bellino’s plan would prohibit the sale of vapor products or alternative nicotine products that contain vitamin E acetate.
“The CDC is continuing to conduct tests to monitor the situation, but recommends people avoid using vapor products that contain of vitamin E acetate,” Bellino said. “It couldn’t be more important we take the necessary steps as a state to be proactive with this growing epidemic. This chemical is not needed in these products and it is best we put a halt to it before more people are diagnosed with severe lung injuries.”
Bellino’s measure also explores stiffer penalties for those who fail to remove vapor products containing vitamin E acetate from their shelves.
House Bill 5161, along with companion bills 5159 and 5160 sponsored by state Reps. Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn and Frank Liberati of Allen Park, remain in the House Regulatory Reform Committee for further consideration.
Photo Information: State Rep. Joe Bellino (left) testifies before the House Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday. Joining him are state Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (center) and Frank Liberati.