GRANGER, Ind. (AP) — Michigan’s ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes could spur new business for vape shops along the state’s Indiana border, a clerk at a northern Indiana store said.
Michiana Mini Mart, which is just south of the Michigan state line, saw a surge in business last year when Indiana legalized alcohol sales on Sundays.
Antonia Hurd, the store’s assistant manager, said she thinks Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban could have a similar effect, the South Bend Tribune reported.
“We got a nice boost when Sunday beer sales was approved,” Hurd said. “We’re hoping for good business off of this too.”
Last month, Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes after the state health department found that youth vaping was a public health emergency, which followed a recent uptick in lung illnesses and deaths related to vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 18 vaping-related deaths have been confirmed in 15 states.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said companies use hundreds of enticing flavors — fruits, desserts, breakfast cereals and candy — and deceptive advertising in an effort to “hook children on nicotine.”
But advocates contend those under 18 aren’t allowed in vape shops. Lawsuits have been filed, but the battle over allowing flavored vapes is likely to move into the Michigan Legislature.
Coley Rayle, a Michigan resident who prefers flavored vaping juice with nicotine, said he decided to stop at a tobacco store in Granger, just south of the Michigan border, while on his way to work in Indiana last week. Rayle noted that more people will be pushed to Indiana stores to purchase their favorite flavored e-cigarettes due to the six-month embargo by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that could be further extended.
“People will have to find other ways of getting it,” he said.