MICHIGAN

 
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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
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  • 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.

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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.