Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Michigan becomes first US state to ban vaping to protect children

Michigan clamps down on sale of flavoured e-cigarettes as more children using nicotine delivery devices

US state of Michigan has banned the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes to protect children. Getty
US state of Michigan has banned the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes to protect children. Getty

Michigan has become the first state in the US to ban the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, following concerns more children are getting addicted to nicotine delivery products.

America has witnessed a huge rise in young people taking up vaping, with fast-growing e-cigarette producer Juul enjoying a boom in business since its 2015 launch. Juul is privately valued at about $38 billion (Dh139bn).

Regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products were recently relaxed in the UAE, with Juul now looking to expand to overseas markets.

In April, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology issued new rules allowing manufacturers to sell battery-powered products, as long as they meet new standards and carry health warnings similar to traditional cigarettes.

The UAE Government also announced, however, that e-cigarettes, vaping devices and tobacco refills would be subject to a 100 per cent excise tax beginning next year.

The new UAE legislation could pave the way for Juul to bring its products into the Middle East. Juul did not respond to a request for comment on the potential move.

Doctors in the UAE urged caution about the emerging e-cigarette market, with little known about the long-term affect of vaping.

“While the impact on respiratory and overall lung health from smoking are known, risk factors for e-cigarettes are also high,” said Dr Monthis Alfetlawi, a cardiologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City Ajman.

“There is a need for continued public health strategies and education campaigns to discourage people in the UAE from using tobacco and nicotine in various forms.”

A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse last year suggested that 21 per cent of senior US high school pupils were now using e-cigarettes, nearly twice the level of a year earlier.

A single e-cigarette contains the equivalent nicotine content found in a packet of 20 cigarettes, according to US surgeon-general Jerome Adams, who said teenage vaping has become an ‘epidemic’ in America.

Although Public Health England declared e-cigarettes 95 per cent less harmful than conventional tobacco smoking, global authorities are concerned about the rising trend and lack of research into the damage caused by long-term use.

In America, at least 215 people across 25 states have reported becoming ill after vaping, with public health officials linking vaping to the death of a man who had a mysterious lung disease in August.

Michigan businesses in the midwestern US state have 30 days to comply with the banning order. Misleading adverts claiming vaping is a ‘safe; alternative to smoking are also now prohibited.

“My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” said Gretchen Whitmer, democratic governor of Michigan.

Updated: September 5, 2019 05:12 PM

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