Pinckney High School students advocate for reform
State Rep. Ann Bollin 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.
Bollin, of Brighton Township, welcomed two Pinckney High School students to the House to watch the historic vote. The students, Kalie Alexander and Benjamin Welch, testified before a Senate committee earlier this year to advocate for the reforms.
“I applaud Kalie and Benjamin for standing up for an issue they believe in,” Bollin said. “They saw a problem, took action and became part of the solution.”
Bollin said the number of teenagers who use e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the past few years, drawing concern from parents, school administrators and law enforcement officers.
“This new way of smoking has become popular among young people, most of whom incorrectly believe it is perfectly harmless,” Bollin said. “Vaping nicotine can have some dangerous long-term health effects for teenagers. It’s critically important that we start taking this more seriously.”
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. In a recent study, one in five Michigan high school students reported having used an e-cigarette during the previous 30 days.
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.
Senate Bills 106 and 155 received overwhelming support in the House and now head to the governor for consideration.