State Rep. Thomas Albert today voted in favor of a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prevent individuals under 18 from possessing vaping products in Michigan.
Senate Bills 106 and 155 make the same reforms Albert proposed in House Bill 4164, which he introduced in February. The bills received overwhelming support in the House and now head to the governor for consideration.
“I was happy to work with the sponsors of the Senate plan to come up with a solution that will protect Michigan children from the dangerous health effects of vaping,” said Albert, of Lowell.
Albert said the number of teenagers who use e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the past few years, prompting parents, teachers and law enforcement officers to reach out to him with concerns. In a recent study, one in five Michigan high school students reported having used an e-cigarette during the previous 30 days.
“Teenage vaping is a health crisis that is quickly spiraling out of control,” Albert said. “This is the first step we must take to get these harmful products out of the hands of Michigan children.”
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine and flavoring without burning tobacco. The devices are small and often look harmless – including a version that looks just like a computer flash drive – making them appealing to teens and difficult to detect in schools.
Albert said teenagers are often under the impression that vaping is safe, but that is not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaping nicotine can harm adolescent brain development and lead to addiction. Many vaping products also contain diacetyl, which is commonly associated with “popcorn lung” – a condition that damages airways.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18, but Michigan state law does not.
“Twentieth-century tobacco regulations are insufficient when it comes to dealing with the new products on the market today,” Albert said. “Adopting a state law that prohibits minors from purchasing and possessing e-cigarettes will help local law enforcement and school administrators keep the addictive, unregulated chemicals off campuses.”