Vaping has become increasingly popular across the United States and many smokers are turning to vape to give up smoking. While most people are clear on the smoking laws, many are uncertain about the laws concerning e-cigarettes. How old do you have to be to vape in Michigan?
In this article, we focus on the vaping laws in Michigan, answering the question of how old you have to be to vape in Michigan. You will also find other useful information about vaping including what e-cigarettes are and the potential health risks associated with vaping.
What Are Vape Pens and Vaping?
Electronic cigarettes, also called vape pens or vapes, are battery-operated devices that allow you to inhale vaporized e-liquid. They are classified as tobacco products because the e-liquid often contains nicotine although some are nicotine-free.
Inside an e-cigarette is a heating part, a coil, which vaporizes the e-liquid, or e-juice, contained in the cartridge. The main ingredients in e-liquids are vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavoring, and nicotine. Some may also include CBD.
However, other chemicals have also been found in e-liquids, including acrolein, which is a herbicide, diacetyl linked to a condition known as popcorn lung, and heavy metals such as lead or tin. To avoid e-liquids that contain harmful substances, vapers should only buy their vapor products from reliable retailers.
Vaping Among Young People
E-cigarettes are now the most common tobacco product among Americans under 18 years of age and the same applies in Michigan, too. The number of vapers in some counties in Michigan is higher than the national average.
While vaping continues to rise in popularity, the vape product marketplace is still largely unregulated and methods that were banned in advertising cigarettes are now used in advertising vaping products. This includes offering cool and sleek designs and hundreds if not thousands of flavor options and claims they are safe to use and not addictive.
How Many Young People Vape or Smoke in Michigan?
In 2019, Michigan high school students were less likely to smoke cigarettes than the national average. While 4.5% of students in Michigan admitted to smoking at least once in the last thirty days, the national rate was 6%.
In the same year, 20.8% of students in Michigan had used vaping products at least once in the last thirty days compared to the national rate of 32.7%. While the rate of high school students vaping in Michigan is lower than the average when looking at the entire state, there are pockets where the percentage exceeds the national average.
Federal Law on Vaping Products
It wasn’t until 2016 that the FDA ruled that e-cigarettes are tobacco products and started to prohibit their sales to minors. In 2019, President Donald Trump approved a law raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. The ban on the sale of tobacco products for anyone under 21 came to force immediately.
Even more recently, in 2020, an enforcement policy was issued by the FDA, regarding unauthorized flavored vaping products that appeal to children. Flavors in the policy included mint and fruit flavors.
The Law in Michigan
In Michigan, the legal age for buying vaping products is 21. There are currently two laws that concern e-cigarettes, which are Public Acts 17 and 19 both from 2019. The first, Act 17, requires retailers to store all vapor products behind the counter or in a locked case and all containers of liquid nicotine to meet the minimum safety standards.
Act 18, prohibits the sale of alternative nicotine products, including e-pens, vapor products, or any new tobacco products to minors. It also prohibits the use and possession of tobacco products or their alternatives by minors.
Vaping Age Restrictions Across the Country
Many states, concerned by the number of young people taking up vaping, already took action on restricting the sale of vaping products to anyone under the age of 21 before the Federal law came to force in 2019.
New York City’s Tobacco 21 law came into force in 2014 and in 2016, Hawaii was the first state to implement the Tobacco 21 law followed by California in 2017. By the time the federal law came to force, 500 cities and 19 states had already imposed the Tobacco 21 restriction.
However, some states have been slower to implement the law. For example, in Alabama, the age limit was only changed to 21 in May 2021 and many states including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Delaware, and Arkansas still have the age limit set at 18. Others, such as Alaska and Utah have set the age limit at 19 years of age.
Many states also have additional bans or exceptions regarding the use of vaping products. One such example is California, where you have to be 21 years old to buy vape products unless you are in the military. An individual who is on active duty can buy vape products at 18 years old.
Are Vape Products Safe?
While studies have shown vaping to be 95% safer than smoking very little is still known about the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes. Swapping regular cigarettes for vaping can therefore be beneficial for adult smokers.
However, the department of health does not recommend anyone to start vaping if they are not smokers. They are not deemed to be safe for pregnant women, children, young adults, or anyone currently not smoking.
Anyone using vaping products needs to be aware of potential health risks which include damage to the heart, lung injury, problems with oral health, low blood pressure, asthma, and pneumonia.
The use and purchase of electronic smoking devices by anyone under the age of 21 were prohibited by Federal law in 2019. The age restrictions on buying and using vaping devices apply in the state of Michigan as well.
While vaping is considered to be a safer alternative to smoking you should not start vaping unless you are already a smoker.
If you would like to ask us anything about the age restrictions on vaping in Michigan, you can write your questions in the comments section.