Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Gov. Whitmer delivers Trumpian response after judge halts nicotine vaping ban

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 1:16 PM

click to enlarge Flavored nicotine vaping products at Detroit Smoke & Vape in Midtown. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Flavored nicotine vaping products at Detroit Smoke & Vape in Midtown.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's unilateral ban on flavored nicotine vaping products would still be in effect if not for that pesky judicial branch.

A Michigan Court of Claims judge temporarily halted the ban on Tuesday after vape shops filed lawsuits arguing the governor overstepped her authority last month by bypassing public hearings and legislative approval.

Angry with the decision, Whitmer, a Democrat, issued the following statement — and even cited President Trump's administration in her argument:

"This decision is wrong. It misreads the law and sets a dangerous precedent of a court second-guessing the expert judgment of public health officials dealing with a crisis. The explosive increasing in youth vaping is a public health emergency, and we must do everything we can to protect our kids from its harmful effects. I plan to seek an immediate stay and go directly to the Supreme Court to request a quick and final ruling. I took bold action last month to protect public health, and several states and the White House have followed Michigan's lead because they know how urgent this is. Enough is enough. Our kids deserve leaders who will fight to protect them. That's exactly what I'm doing today."

Like Trump often does, Whitmer blasted a judiciary decision that challenged the extent of her power and accused the judge of failing to protect the children. Whitmer was hoping to impose a ban without interference from the other two branches of government — the legislative and judicial branches.

Here's what actually happened: Judge Cynthia Stephens granted a routine temporary injunction so that vaping businesses aren't forced to close before a court has time to weigh the merits of the case. New York's ban also was blocked last month by a state appeals court for similar reasons.

Whitmer was able to bypass the legislative process by issuing emergency rules, saying the rise in youth vaping constitutes a public health crisis. Vaping advocates say Whitmer is ignoring the decline in youth and adult cigarette smoking, which is generally considered far more hazardous than vaping.

Whitmer also has the option of asking the state House and Senate to approve a ban, but many lawmakers have indicated they don't support prohibition, especially since vaping helps adults quit smoking.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she plans to appeal the court's decision to pause the ban.

"The Michigan Department of the Attorney General is resolute in our efforts on behalf of Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services to protect the health of Michigan’s children," Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said in a statement. "The youth vaping crisis is an urgent public health matter that demands immediate action. To that end we are preparing to seek an immediate stay and will seek leave to appeal the judge’s decision directly to the Supreme Court."

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