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Michigan Lawmakers Duke It Out Over Vaporizers

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Michigan minors may soon be banned from purchasing e-cigarettes. However, the verbiage of recent legislation, which in its most basic form is aimed at protecting children from the potential hazards of these devices, has some people concerned over how these smoking alternatives will be marketed to adults.

Those opposed to e-cigarettes are worried that legislators are not exercising caution in regards to the devices, especially since they have not be proven safe. Yet, supporters of the three bills that would ultimately make it illegal for children to possess e-cigarettes say that is all they are trying to do – keep them out of the hand of kids.

The opposition continues to grind the issue, arguing that by not defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products, they will not be placed under the same marketing regulations as tobacco. The concern is over the addition of the words “vapor products” and “alternative nicotine products” in the wording of recent legislation, as opposed to branding e-cigarettes “tobacco products.”

Some are worried that non-smokers will be enticed to use e-cigarettes because the products do not come with a label warning users of health risks. Others argue that vaporizers are great because they help many long time smokers kick the habit.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stepped in and demanded to regulate vaporizers as tobacco products, which is likely a strong-arm coming down from Big Tobacco. Nevertheless, there seems to be an overwhelming interest by the government to study the potential health risks associated with these products, which contain no tobacco.

If the new law passes in Michigan, children caught in possession of e-cigarettes could face community service, while the store responsible for selling the device could face a $50 fine for each offense.

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