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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer For Her Leadership in Fighting the Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic

September 23, 2020

Washington, D.C. – The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids tonight will present Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with its highest honor, the Champion Award, given to the individual who has had the greatest impact in the last year in the battle to reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences, especially in recognition of her strong leadership in taking bold action to reverse skyrocketing youth use of e-cigarettes.

Gov. Whitmer will be honored at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ annual awards celebration, which is being held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tobacco-Free Kids will also honor its Youth Advocates of the Year, young leaders in the fight against tobacco use. The event will be livestreamed at at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight.

As part of her commitment to protecting kids, Gov. Whitmer in September 2019 became the first governor to take emergency action to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic. In the midst of a rapidly growing public health crisis, Gov. Whitmer declared youth e-cigarette use to be a public health emergency and proposed the first statewide ban on the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, which have driven the increase in youth use.

“Gov. Whitmer’s leadership in Michigan changed the national debate, became the catalyst for other states to act and galvanized policymakers across the nation to prevent e-cigarettes from addicting a new generation of kids,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We are thrilled to honor her for her determination to take on the tobacco industry and for all she has done to improve the health and future of Michigan’s kids and families.”

Action on flavored e-cigarettes is urgently needed given the alarming increase in youth e-cigarette use in recent years. Recently-released results of the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that while youth e-cigarette use declined this year after sharply increasing from 2017 to 2019, 3.6 million middle and high school students nationwide still use e-cigarettes, including one in five high school students. 83% of them use flavored products. And 39% of high school e-cigarette users use these products at least 20 days a month, a sure sign of addiction.

“Thank you to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for this award. I’m incredibly proud that my administration took decisive action to combat the threat posed by vaping and made Michigan the first state in the nation to announce a ban on the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Our kids deserve leaders who are going to fight to protect them and build on the decades of progress we’ve already made in combating tobacco use. Together, we will continue to fight to protect the health and safety of all of Michiganders.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people and costing the nation about $170 billion in health care bills each year.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, we promote the adoption of proven solutions that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives. For more information on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, visit