A ban against flavored nicotine liquids and electronic cigarettes went into effect state-wide on Oct. 2 under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency orders.
Michigan Judge Cynthia Stevens granted a preliminary injunction on Oct. 15 which temporarily stops the governor’s vaping ban, in response to a lawsuit filed by vaping businesses to the Court of Claims.
This injunction means the state cannot enforce the ban and retailers can continue to sell nicotine products, Detroit Metro Times reports.
Owner of the Corktown Smoke Shop, Nathan Esquivel, said 20% of their sales were from flavored vape products.
“As of October 1, we had to take it all off the shelves, so we put on a discount for customers,” he said.
A lot of inventory was still left on shelves after Oct. 1 that was illegal to be sold, so Esquival said they lost some sales when the store had to put them away.
Now that the ban is on pause, Esquival said they pulled out what they had stored away and are selling them again.
“We got to put the juices back on the shelves, but everything is buy one get one free,” he said.
He said they haven’t ordered more vape products because they’re unsure if the ban will be put in place again.
The Smoke Shop has only been open since January, and Esquival said it’s still unclear how much the business will be impacted by this ban.
“A lot of customers are still coming in confused, because they either didn’t know about the ban, or weren’t sure it would happen,” he said.
Wayne State senior Wassim Fawaz was one of many customers that hit stores before the ban took effect.
“Every shop had BOGO deals, so I stocked up,” Fawaz said.
Fawaz started vaping winter 2018 and became addicted, he said. “It’s a bad feeling to be addicted to it, but it’s one of my best stress relievers,” he said.
Fawaz is a pre-medical student and said vaping helps him deal with family, school and work stress.
“I personally haven’t felt like it’s hindered my health in any way, but I haven’t been vaping for too long,” he said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports the specific chemical that causes lung injury from vaping or e-cigarettes is unknown. Rather, the blame on the mysterious lung-illnesses epidemic seems to be pointing toward black-market THC cartridges, according to the CDC.
“The latest findings from the investigation into lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak,” the CDC states.
On Oct. 4, the first death in Michigan related to vaping was reported, adding on to the national total of 18 dead and about 1,080 injured, according to the CDC.
Lauren Sandford, a staff writer for Consumersafety.org, said some e-cigarette manufacturers like JUUL, deliberately target teenagers and a young audience with their products.
“Vaping liquids come in a variety of enticing flavors, including cotton candy, apple pie, and watermelon, and each flavor contains a different chemical composition,” Sandford said.
Some JUUL pods contain 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine, which can lead to addictions if not previously addicted and to other health concerns, Sandford said.
“E-cigarettes were originally intended to be used by adults who already struggled with smoking and nicotine addiction,” she said.
For resources and help to quit smoking, check WSU’s Tobacco Cessation Resources.
Cover photo by Susana Hernandez
Malak Silmi is the Arts & Entertainment editor of The South End. She can be reached at email@example.com