Bill package in Michigan Senate would ban sale of flavored tobacco products, including vapes
A package of bills in the Michigan Senate would end the sale of flavored tobacco products in the state, including flavored e-cigarettes — also called vapes — and menthol-flavored cigarettes.
Supporters of the bills hope that a ban on flavored products will decrease the amount of youth who use tobacco products. The bills would also require tobacco retailers to be licensed and create a tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products with nicotine.
“The evidence is overwhelming that flavors play a key role in youth starting and continuing to use tobacco products, leading to addiction,” according to Take Down Tobacco, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ main platform for advocacy.
State Senator John Cherry (D) supports the legislation and said it addresses a major problem.
"What we're hearing from the parents and educators in our district is that vaping has become an epidemic in our schools. This legislation is important for the mere fact of, we want our kids to lead healthy, prosperous lives ... and this is going to help us to achieve that," Cherry said.
According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, over 2.1 million youth in the U.S. currently use e-cigarettes; almost 90% of them used flavored products, with fruit flavors being the most popular.
E-cigarettes come in many different flavors that may appeal to youth, including cotton candy, sour apple, and blueberry ice, authorities said. These flavors – and mint-derived menthol – can mask the harsher taste of tobacco. Many vapes are manufactured to look like markers, highlighters, and even USB storage devices.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that nicotine can affect teens' attention, learning, and memory while also creating dependency. Some studies have found that regular nicotine consumption may also worsen symptoms of depression in adolescents.
Cherry said that banning flavors could make a big difference in rates of youth vaping.
"Flavors are the primary mechanism by which companies are getting kids hooked on vapes. When you interview kids about why they’re using it, they say they’re using it because it tastes good. So, if we want to reduce youth vaping and therefore adult use in the future, really targeting in and ending sales of flavored tobacco is the way to do it,” said Cherry.