Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan on Wednesday said that she would outlaw the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in her state, there being a national crackdown on vaping amid a recent spike in illnesses tied to the products.
Ms. Whitmer, whose office confirmed that she would be the first governor to issue an outright ban on e-flavored nicotine vaping products, said the decision came in response to increased e-cigarette use among teenagers and marketing that she said targeted youths. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, called youth vaping a public health crisis.
“As governor, my number one priority is keeping our kids safe,” Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement. “And right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today.”
Ms. Whitmer’s will order the ban and sale of flavored vaping products in stores and online. She also instructed state health officials to stop any advertising or marketing of the products that uses terms like “clean,” “safe,” or “healthy.” Tiffany Brown, a spokeswoman for Ms. Whitmer, said the new rules would be put in place in the next few weeks, and that businesses would then have a month to comply.
Tony Abboud, the executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, an industry group, criticized the ban in a statement. He predicted that it would hurt small businesses in Michigan and create a black market for flavored e-cigarettes.
“The governor’s edict is not based on science or common sense,” Mr. Abboud said.
In recent months, public health agencies have reported a number of serious illnesses believed to be tied to vaping, including one death in Illinois. In June, San Francisco became the first American city to ban the sale of the products. Last month, the health department in Milwaukee and the Illinois attorney general issued statements urging people not to use e-cigarettes.
“As people around the country report being hospitalized after using e-cigarettes or vape pens, and with one fatality already in the state of Illinois, it is clear that vaping products pose a significant health risk and should be avoided,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul of Illinois said while making a statement on Friday.
The chief executive of the American Heart Association, Nancy Brown, praised the Michigan ban in a statement released by the governor’s office.
“In the absence of robust regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, we know shockingly little about the health impact of e-cigarettes being widely marketed to youth and adults,” Ms. Brown said. “The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses associated with e-cigarette use has only added to the uncertainty and increased the need for immediate action.”