Advocates call ban on flavored vaping products a 'knee jerk reaction'

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BURTON (WJRT) - (09/11/19) - President Donald Trump, like Governor Gretchen Whitmer a week ago, is now weighing a ban on flavored e-cigarette vaping products.

Plans have yet to be finalized for the ban, but it is causing intense reaction from vaping advocates who feel like their industry is being singled out.

"I believe it's a knee jerk reaction to something that's not fully understood," Harold Miller said.

Miller is a regional manager for A Clean Cigarette, which has some 20 stores in Michigan.

Now the White House has joined Michigan to move towards a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the administration wants to "reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use."

"We shoot for adult smokers, so even the flavors that we have are aimed towards adult smokers," Miller said. "But what we're really worried about is losing the menthol."

Miller says those individuals would turn back to smoking cigarettes.

He's even more concerned because the CDC has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to more than 450 cases of lung illness in 33 states and one U.S. territory. There have also been six reported vaping-related deaths, according to the CDC.

But Miller says the Trump administration and Whitmer are painting everyone in the industry with a broad brush.

"Everything I've seen so far has been related to black market THC cartridges. Nothing I've seen has been related to nicotine. It seems like they're going after the wrong area."

“Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as THC,” according to the CDC.

Miller and the owners of A Clean Cigarette will be fighting for their livelihood Thursday in Lansing. They've already passed out flyers with information for people to contact the governor with their concerns.

"This governor decided to implement a public health emergency ban on flavored e-cigs, and the previous governor didn't see it prudent to do a public health emergency on Flint water," Miller said. "It's odd that it's being used against e-cigarettes when it wasn't even used against Flint water."

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