Michigan’s flavored vape ban temporarily haltedThis article was originally published on USAToday.com
DETROIT – The Michigan Court of Claims issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, stopping the state’s ban on flavored vapes, which began Oct. 2.
The harm done to vape businesses, which would have to shut down because of the ban, outweighs the interest of the state in stopping youths from using the products, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens said in her ruling.
“Not only has plaintiff A Clean Cigarette lost a significant percentage of its sales and closed several stores due to the ban, the ban will force plaintiff to rebrand itself entirely,” she wrote. “In essence, the emergency rules will destroy plaintiff A Clean Cigarette’s business as it currently exists.”
Michigan was the first state to issue a ban on flavored vapes in the midst of health issues surrounding vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating nearly 1,300 cases of lung disease that some officials suspect were triggered by vaping. At least 26 deaths, including one in Michigan, have been attributed to the lung disease. In Michigan, 35 lung disease cases have been reported, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Michigan ordered that all flavored vape products be removed from store shelves. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the ban Sept. 3.
“There should be no question that we completely disagree” with the ruling, said Tiffany Brown, spokeswoman for Whitmer.
Several states followed Michigan’s lead in banning flavored vapes or all vape products, and the administration of President Donald Trump indicated that it would implement a ban on the flavored products.
Stephens said the state was fully aware of the problem nearly a year ago and couldn’t justify the need for the emergency rules.Get the News Alerts newsletter in your inbox.
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“Indeed an agency cannot create an emergency by way of its own failure to act,” she wrote. “The court concludes that the record, at least at this juncture, does not substantiate the declaration of an emergency which necessitated dispensing with the … normal rule-making procedures which afford the public meaningful opportunities to be heard.”
The issue doesn’t go away. Stephens wrote, “This is not a final order and it neither resolves the last pending claim nor closes the case.”