Gov. Whitmer Takes Flavored Vape Case To Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING (WWJ) - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn't giving up her effort to ban flavored vapes.

Whitmer on Friday filed an application for emergency leave with the Michigan Court of Appeals and asked the Michigan Supreme Court to take the case directly in response to last week's Court of Claims order blocking her emergency rules banning the sale and advertising of e-cigarette products that taste like fruit, candy, menthol or mint. 

Left to stand, Whitmer said the court's ruling would seriously undermine the governor’s ability to respond to emergent threats to public health, safety and welfare.  

The official filing for emergency leave states, “the court of claims not only misunderstood the law and errantly issued a preliminary injunction, it also fundamentally compromised both the public health of this state and the exercise of core and critical power of the executive branch. … By enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Rules that were enacted to address this emergency, the court of claims left this state paralyzed in a perilous status quo, and marked out a form of judicial intervention that is both dangerous and contrary to law: courts second-guessing the expert judgment of public health officials dealing with a public health emergency.” 

Whitmer, who points to surveys showing a 900% spike in e-cigarette use by high school and middle school students in Michigan, has already asked the Michigan Supreme Court to take the case directly. Her primary concern, she says, is that flavored products target children.

“After seeing how the Flint water crisis was mishandled, it’s more important than ever that we listen to our public health officials when they make recommendations to protect our citizens,” said Whitmer, in a statement. “Our Chief Medical Officer has found that the explosive increase in youth vaping that we’ve seen over the past few years is a public health emergency. For the sake of our kids and our overall public health, we must act swiftly to get these harmful and addictive products off the market. I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will immediately take up this case so we can ensure our kids’ safety.” 

Flavored vape juice went back on shelves on Oct. 15, when Judge Cynthia Stephens granted a preliminary injunction to vape shop owners who opposed the ban. 

Explaining her decision, Stephens said there is evidence that prohibition will cause adults in Michigan to return to using more harmful tobacco products.

Debate over the Michigan ban comes as, amid a rash of lung illnesses and deaths, state and federal health officials are urging people of all ages to avoid using any type of vape or e-cigarette products. As of Oct. 22, there have been sixteen hundred and four cases of lung injury related to e-cigarette or vaping use in 49 states, D.C. and one U.S. territory.

However, many of those cases have been linked to vaping THC, rather than nicotine products covered by Michigan ban.