1. Pass a law to license all tobacco retailers, including e-cigarette retailers;
2. Prohibit flavorings, including mint and menthol, for all tobacco products;
3. Increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; and
4. Match the tax on non-cigarette forms of tobacco like spit tobacco, cigars, hookah and e-cigarettes to the cigarette tax.
The dramatic increase in the number of young people using e-cigarettes caught the attention of Michigan policymakers. This was the impetus for Governor Whitmer to propose the adoption of an emergency administrative rule prohibiting e-cigarette flavorings. Hearings were held in October 2020 to enact a permanent rule, and the American Lung Association and other state-based public health partners testified in support of expanding the rule to all flavored tobacco products. Other efforts to combat youth usage of e-cigarettes included a legislative bill package to tax e-cigarettes, license tobacco retailers, and to have state law mirror federal law by raising the legal age to use tobacco products from 18 to 21. Work will continue on these efforts during the 2021 legislative session.
The American Lung Association in Michigan continues to work with a diverse group of stakeholders to help combat tobacco usage. There is much more that Michigan policymakers could be doing. The state continues to only spend 3.7% of what is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a state of our size. An increase in tobacco taxes should be considered as a means to increase spending on tobacco control and prevention. Ensuring the tax on non-cigarette forms of tobacco are at parity with the cigarette tax is important to prevent youth from switching to lower-taxed products.
As we look ahead to 2021, the American Lung Association in Michigan will continue to work with a broad coalition of stakeholders to advocate for evidence-based solutions to reduce the number of citizens using tobacco products, especially our youth.
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $4,589,784,016
Adult Smoking Rate: 18.7%
High School Smoking Rate: 4.5%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 23.0%
Middle School Smoking Rate: N/A
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 16,170
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use data come from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. A current middle school smoking rate is not available for this state.