Defend MI Rights Coalition Statement on Vaping-Related Death

October 4, 2019

CONTACT: Andrea Bitely

Defend MI Rights Coalition Statement on Vaping-Related Death

LANSING – The Defend MI Rights Coalition today released the following statement from spokeswoman Andrea Bitely on the regarding the death announced today by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:

“Given the information that has come to light from the CDC, and the tragic death announced today, we implore the Governor to re-evaluate the ban in place and look to sensible regulations that will allow adults to use flavored nicotine-based vape products. More and more scientific studies, including research done by the Centers for Disease Control, are being published that show that the illnesses have arisen from black market or homemade products that contain THC – which is not sold in vape shops in Michigan. We also call on the State of Michigan to release as much information as possible about the products used by the individual who died in order for others to properly dispose of the product if it is in their possession.”



According to media reports, Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has said that most of the patients that have been diagnosed with lung disease after vaping consumed cannabis oil not nicotine-based vaping products.

According to the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control, products containing THC are playing a significant role in the outbreak of lung disease – with 77% of those diagnosed admitting to using THC-containing products.  Due to the legal status of marijuana in many states, it is unknown how many were unwilling to admit to using a THC-based vape product based on a fear of prosecution.

Children are already banned from using vape products, and rightly so. However, Gov. Whitmer’s vaping ban tramples on the rights of Michigan adults to decide what legal products they consume and how they consume them.   


Why should lawmakers oppose the vape ban? 

It kills jobs. Hundreds of businesses will be forced to close and thousands hard-working Michiganders will lose their jobs if the ban goes into effect. This will harm communities throughout Michigan.

It’s unprecedented. The state has never before banned an entirely legal industry, killing 800 businesses and 4,500 jobs without any legislative debate or public input whatsoever. If the governor can eliminate vaping with the stroke of a pen, what’s to stop her from eliminating other industries she doesn’t like?

Bans don’t workAs we have seen with alcohol and marijuana, prohibition doesn’t work. By outlawing the vape products currently sold in stores, we are opening up a black market of products.

It wastes law enforcement resources. Enforcing prohibition of flavored vape products will pull law enforcement resources away from real issues impacting our communities like violent crime and the opioid epidemic.

It’s bad for consumers. In addition to being ineffective, the ban of non-tobacco flavors could also push current users back to combustible cigarettes.


We need the government to enforce and strengthen our current laws to keep harmful products away from children — not ban them for adults.



The Defend MI Rights Coalition is an organization of civil liberties and small business advocates that have joined together to oppose the governor’s attempted vaping ban. This organization sees the ban as clear government overreach and a violation of the rights of Michigan adults to decide what products they buy and consume. Learn more at

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