Controversial E-Cigarettes in Michigan
The use and commercialization of electronic cigarettes are not covered under the smoke-free policy in the state of Michigan. The people in the state can freely vape in and out their private homes and workplaces not unless the building owner / management restricts e-cigarettes in their properties.
However, in the website of Michigan Department of Community Health, the institution discourages the people to use the said product. “The e-cigarette is not a proven safe alternative to smoking and we discourage its use both for the user's safety and the safety of the people in the same room.” They promote the usage of nicotine alternative/replacements sold in pharmacies and drug stores like gums, patches, and lozenges.
Also, Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon bans the use of electronic cigarettes inside the hospital premises. Spokeswoman Joan Kessler said that they ask the people from refraining in using any tobacco products. Ms. Kessler also stated that she sees it like any other tobacco products, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipes and cigarettes.
Muskegon County Jail also bans the usage of electronic cigarettes for a simple reason: Electronic cigarettes contain rechargeable batteries which the inmates aren't allowed to have as said by Sheriff Dean Roesler.
Most of the bars and restaurants in the state has no formal policy related to e-cigarettes but there are a few restaurants who prohibits the use of the device because the management wants to avoid customers tensions especially from their non-smoking clients. One of these restaurants is Grand Haven's Rendezvous Restaurant who does not allow anybody in the resto to use the battery operated vaping device, may it be their staffs, customers, or anybody because it looks a lot like smoking traditional cigarettes. Hearthstone Bistro, 3350 Glade, another bistro in the state, though there's no formal policy issued about banning e-cigarettes, co-owner Frank Lister, said he would ask a customer to stop vaping if another customer objected. He added, “We have to worry about retaliation by way of legal action”. Since 2010 he saw few customers who used their personal vaporizers inside Hearthstone but nobody got offended by it probably because it is odorless.
On the other side of the boat, Ken Krause, Muskegon County's public-health officer and director of the county's public-health department said, “Personally, I think it's a heck of a lot safer than using cigarettes. It's not a huge difference from using the nicotine patch or nicotine gum. ... I would much rather see people use the e-cigarettes rather than smoking.” He also stated, “There's not been studies on it, so I can't say absolutely it's a safe product. But we definitely know that cigarettes themselves are harmful.”
Another pro vaping is Ed Parsekian of Shelby, who recently retired as Muskegon County's smoking-cessation educator and still conducts freelance stop-smoking classes. He is in favor of electronic cigarettes as these devices are helpful to a lot of citizens.
Kari Weberg, a Muskegon County Sheriff's Office sergeant who also is the owner of Lakeshore Vapors store, said that she has been using electronic cigarettes for nearly two years already. She said, “I had a baby. I wanted to smoke afterward, and I didn't want to smoke,”. She researched about electronic cigarettes and vaping then started to sell the device and accessories outside her house until she opened a store in Sternberg. Her customer, Tonya Jelinek of Hesperia, was delighted about her device. She was a previous smoker who smoked less than a pack a day. She is using e-cigarette as a substitute. “I think it's wonderful. I think it does help, and it is so much cheaper,” she said. One $10 cartridge lasted her three weeks.
E-cigarettes are sold in at least two stores locally, Lite Up 'N Live in Lakes Mall in Fruitport Township and Lakeshore Vapors at 1044 E. Sternberg in The Pointes Shopping Center in Norton Shores.
Most e-cigarette fans are ex-smokers who are trying to quit smoking or cut back tobacco intake. E-cigarette cartridges come in different nicotine doses that vapers can choose from. Some users gradually decrease their dose over time as part their weaning technique. Though there's no rigorous research has been done yet, the public officials are still out on their safety. In both opposite sides of the story, there are concerned individuals standing out and fighting for what they believe is right and beneficial to everyone.
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