Poll says Michigan voters want to ban flavored vaping products
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A new effort is underway to reduce tobacco use among Michigan kids. In a new poll, 67% of people surveyed say they want to ban flavored vaping products.
“Most individuals who started smoking, 90 percent started before the age of 18 and 99 percent before the age of 26, so most of them started young. The tobacco industry knows this, and that’s why they’re targeting children to start using these flavored and these new fancy products,” said Dr. Brittany Tayler, a Mid-Michigan pediatrician and the co-chair of the Keep Michigan Kids Tobacco-Free Alliance.
A new poll funded by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that Michigan racked up a $5.3 billion bill in healthcare costs because of tobacco use.
“I take care of adults, I take care of kids, I see people who are smoking now in their 50s and 60s and 70s, and they wish that they had never started,” said Dr. Tayler.
The poll putting a spotlight on preventing kids from beginning smoking in the first place. It says that 14% of high school students are already using vapes and e-cigarettes. Eaton Rapids High School took measures into their own hands, installing vape detectors in the school earlier this year.
“We were getting a lot of reports from other students like ‘hey, there’s three kids in the bathroom vaping. Our heart and goal in the issue is to prevent vaping, not to try and catch more kids making poor choices,” said Principal Lounds.
The poll found that voters in Michigan would strongly support a bill package of tobacco prevention policies, including ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products like vapes, taxing vaping products, increasing the tobacco sin tax, and requiring tobacco retailers to be licensed.
“We really want to be holding the retailers accountable for this if they are selling to these individuals. We want to hold the adults accountable, not the children in the situation,” said Dr. Tayler.
The legislation would raise the cigarette tax by $1.50—that money would be used to reduce tobacco use, specifically among children. It would also create a tax on all nicotine and tobacco products. Right now, the tax on cigarettes is $2.00 in Michigan, and there is no tax on e-cigarettes or vapes.
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