State Rep. Graham Filler 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.
Filler, of DeWitt, 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.
“Local schools are really struggling with minors using e-cigarettes,” Filler said. “Teenagers seem to have the misconception that vaping is safe, but the reality is that e-cigarette usage poses dangerous long-term health effects.”
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.
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 prohibit minors from purchasing and possessing e-cigarettes and establish penalties for people who sell or give e-cigarette products to minors. The bills also require vapor products or alternative nicotine products to be stored behind a counter or within a locked case in stores.
“I have been approached by an overwhelming number of teachers, principals, law enforcement officers and health professionals from throughout our community and they all agree on one thing: Vaping is a dangerous health concern,” said Filler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony on the bills. “This solution is the first step we must take to get these harmful and addictive products out of the hands of our kids.”
The plan received overwhelming support in the House and now heads to the governor for consideration.