Three bills passed by a committee in the House of Representatives could bring Michigan closer to safer e-cigarettes.
These pieces of legislation would ban the processing and sale of marijuana and tobacco products containing vitamin E acetate. The substance was linked to a slew of vaping-related deaths and illnesses last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC reported that 82 percent of patients hospitalized with vaping-related lung illnesses had used THC-containing products, while 33 percent reported using exclusively THC-containing products. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.
House Bills 5159, 5160 and 5161 passed the House Judiciary Committee and will now go to the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives. They were introduced in October by Reps. Abdulla Hammoud (D-15-Dearbon), Frank Liberati (D-13-Allen Park) and Joseph Bellino (R-17-Monroe).
“As findings on the vaping health epidemic continue to emerge, we know our state can address a critical issue by banning products with vitamin E acetate, which studies have linked to major health effects,” said Hammoud in a statement when the bills were originally introduced. “While the merits of vaping continue to be debated, banning this chemical is essential and urgent while we fight to solve this issue.”
The sentiment was echoed by other representatives at the same time.
“Protecting public health is critically important, and these bills take a proactive approach,” said Liberati. “The chemical banned in this legislation is not integral to vaping products, and there is simply no reason why we should continue to allow it to endanger the health of our residents.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has pushed the Michigan Supreme Court to reinstitute a ban on e-cigarettes after a lower court overturned it late last year citing business concerns. The court denied to take up the case earlier this month.
As of January 14, more than 2,500 illnesses and 60 deaths linked to vaping-related illnesses have been reported, according to the CDC. The health organization has recommended that vitamin E acetate not be added to any e-cigarette product.
There have been 65 such cases in Michigan, with three resulting in death as of January 10, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]