SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pushes for the Michigan State Supreme Court to reinstate her ban on flavored e-cigarette products, she's receiving pushback from a few groups.
Namely, the American Vaping Association, who says her time would be better spent enacting what it calls 'sensible regulations'. However, Whitmer's continued defense of her ban is becoming less tenable by the day, especially in the face of CDC pronouncements linking recent lung illnesses and deaths to the use of illicit THC products.
"People come in with significant difficulty breathing, chest pains, some people have gone on to develop very serious respiratory problems, requiring tubes to be put down their lungs to breathe for them," said DMC Toxicologist Bram Dolcourt.
There have been 44 reported lung-injury cases and one death in Michigan believed to be related to vaping. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been more than 1,600 illnesses and 34 confirmed deaths across the country.
The FDA found THC in most of the samples it tested and those patients reported a history of using products containing THC.
"For some reason, vaping is perceived as being safe even though you're inhaling not just THC but whatever chemicals are used to extract the THC. So the exposures can be any sorts of solvents, other sorts of industrial chemicals. We really don't know," said Dolcourt.
Whitmer is banking on the Supreme Court to skip the normal appeals process and take up the case instead of the Court of Appeals. Last week, the Court of Claims stopped the MDHHS's emergency rules banning flavored e-cigarette products. While some Michiganians say it's a no brainer that the products can be harmful.
"Everything they put out don't mean it's good," said Tracey Patterson. "That's common sense."
Others say, live and let live
"Power to the people. They control enough stuff. Let us have freedom to do some things," said Derice Wells.