Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed bills Friday to prohibit e-cigarettes from being regulated as tobacco products under Michigan law.
Snyder said he supports banning the use of e-cigarettes by teens, another provision in the legislation. But he vetoed the bills because they would exclude alternative nicotine products from the definition of tobacco.
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The governor said Michigan would conflict with federal efforts to regulate the popular devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor.
"Michigan should not enact new state law that is not consistent with a legally mandated approach proposed" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Snyder said.
"To do so will unnecessarily sow confusion (and) send a mixed health message to the public on a subject that is already complex and confusing to many," he said.
Three bills were approved by the Legislature last summer but not sent to the governor until recently. A sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said the bills were opposed by "do-gooder organizations" that want to tax e-cigarettes like tobacco.
"They're not smoking; they're vaping. It's water vapor," Jones, a non-smoker, said of users. "I've been sitting next to people using them. They're not offensive in any way."
The veto means teens still can buy and use e-cigarettes, although Jones said "most responsible stores" won't sell to minors.
"We don't want children getting addicted to nicotine," he said.
The Michigan State Medical Society, which represents 15,000 doctors, praised Snyder.
"These bills would have been a giant step backwards, and Gov. Snyder was wise to veto them," said Dr. James Grant, the group's president.
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