MICHIGAN

 

TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 101: MICHIGAN

January 13, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Michigan’s vaping industry provided more than $608 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 2,660 direct vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Michigan exceeded $16.3 million in 2016.

  • As of January 9, 2020, MDHHS has reported 35 confirmed and 30 probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses. MDHHS reports that 82.5 percent of patients report vaping THC. MDHHS earns a B for its reporting on vaping-related lung illnesses.

  • In 2017, only 2.9 percent of Michigan high school students reported using vapor products daily. More data is needed. 

  • Only 5 percent of FDA retail compliance checks in Michigan resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

  • Michigan spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Michigan dedicated only $1.6 million on tobacco control, or less than 1 percent of what the state received in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.

MICHIGAN FLAVOR BAN IS BAD POLICY

September 10, 2019
  • On September 4, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unilaterally “ordered the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to issue emergency rules” that would ban retail and online sales of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

  • The order would also “ban misleading marketing of vapor products, including the use of terms like ‘clean,’ ‘safe,’ and ‘healthy.’”

  • The ban would go into effect 30 days after MDHHS issues the order and would last for six months.

  • The Heartland Institute analyzed results from the 2017-18 California Youth Tobacco Survey (CYTS) and found that despite flavor restrictions in place in some localities, youth use of e-cigarettes in those areas increased after the bans when into place.

  • Public health departments are linking vaping-related hospitalizations to the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products.

  • Whitmer’s proposal is misleading and full of false claims on the marketing of, and substances found in e-cigarettes.

  • Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2016 deeming regulations, e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers are barred from making any health claims. The deeming regulations specifically prohibit the distribution of products  whose “labeling, or advertising claim are ‘lower risk,’ ‘less harmful,’ … without an FDA order in effect.”

  • Formaldehyde” claims in e-cigarettes are over exaggerated and have been debunked. A study, analyzing regular use of e-cigarettes found formaldehyde to be practically absent, and at levels “far below what [cigarette] smokers inhale.”

  • Instead of reducing tobacco harm reduction options for adults, Michigan lawmakers should direct more of the state’s tobacco moneys on tobacco education and prevention programs.

MICHIGAN CIGARETTE AND VAPING TAX WOULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD

April 23, 2019
  • House Bill 4188 would increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1.50 from $2.00 to $3.50 per pack.

  • The legislation would also increase the tax on other tobacco products (OTP) from 32 to 81 percent of the wholesale price and apply the OTP tax to e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

  • Sin taxes, also known as excise taxes, are highly regressive and disproportionately impact lower income persons.

  • E-cigarettes are a tobacco harm reduction product and should not be subjected to sin taxes, which are typically applied to discourage use of unhealthy products.

  • Lower income persons are more likely to smoke than higher income persons.

  • Lower-income Americans also spend more of their income on cigarettes.

    • A Cato Journal article found that from “2010 to 2011, smokers earning less than $30,000 per year spent 14.2 percent of their household income cigarettes.”

    • Smokers that earned between $30,000 and $59,999 spent 4.3 percent, and those earning more than $60,000 spent 2 percent of their income on cigarettes.

  • Michigan currently uses very little tobacco money to help smokers quit.

  • Numerous public health groups have acknowledged e-cigarettes to be significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes including Public Health England, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the American Cancer Society.

  • The Royal College of Physicians, a respected and renowned public health organization finds e-cigarettes “an effective aid to quitting smoking,” and the health risks of e-cigarettes “is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.”

  • Kenneth E. Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, is an outspoken opponent of Michigan’s proposed tax on e-cigarettes.

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©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.