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New York Bans Flavored E-Cigs

Gov. Cuomo invokes executive order, asks police to watch for retailers selling vaping products to minors
Photograph courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York has become the second state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products at retail outlets including convenience stores, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo using an executive order to enact the measure.

At a press conference held Sept. 15, Cuomo and Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York Department of Health (DOH), said Zucker will hold an emergency meeting with the Public Health and Planning Council in the coming days to put the ban into effect.

The proposed ban will not include menthol- and tobacco-flavored vaping products, CNBC reported.

“New York is confronting this crisis head-on, and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency,” Cuomo said. “Manufacturers of fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we’re taking action to put an end to it. At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth—those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted.”

The governor directed state police and DOH to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties. He also announced he will advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children.

The move comes just days after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced their support for measures to limit the sale of flavored vaping products. The action spurred endorsements and follow-up promises from Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In a related matter, Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently made statements regarding deaths and possibly as many as 450 illnesses reported throughout the United States that could be related to the use of e-cigarettes.

When New York’s measure becomes law, it will become the second state to ban flavored vaping products; Michigan officials announced their decision to enact similar rules earlier this month.

The New York ban is one of a number of actions that Cuomo has taken regarding e-cigarettes. On Sept. 12, Cuomo signed an executive order that directs state agencies to deploy education awareness programs on vaping and include vaping and e-cigarette prevention and cessation measures in their educational programs and employee trainings.

On Sept. 9, Cuomo directed the DOH to launch an investigation into companies that produce vaping substances. The agency served three subpoenas so that it could determine the ingredient mix that targeted companies used.

Meanwhile, Cuomo signed legislation in July to raise the age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21, effective Nov. 13, 2019.

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