NY E-cigarette Ban, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls For Ban Of Flavored E-Cigarettes

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NY E-cigarette Ban, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls For Ban Of Flavored E-Cigarettes.

New York will ban flavored vaping products next month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, citing a growing public health crisis he blamed on manufacturers of electronic cigarettes who try get young people addicted to their products.

Cuomo said New York Department of Health commissioner Howard Zucker will call on the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council to declare flavored e-cigarettes a public health crisis and ban the sale of the products in the state, perhaps as soon as Oct. 4. The declaration will not require legislative approval, the governor said.

“Vaping is dangerous,” Cuomo said Sunday during a news conference in Manhattan. “It is addicting millions of young people to nicotine at a very early age.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer banned flavored vapes in her state earlier this month but that ban will not go into effect for a few weeks. New York’s ban could be the first in the nation if implemented by early October, Cuomo said.

The Department of Health estimated that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors and 27 percent of high school students in New York are using e-cigarettes. The manufacturers of vaping products that come in flavors such as cotton candy and bubblegum are attempting to get young people addicted to their products so they will continue to purchase them, Cuomo said. The governor called it a business strategy that guarantees profits for the companies and health problems for many consumers,

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“They want to get them young, the way they did with cigarettes” Cuomo said. “Get them addicted yuoung and then as a customer and a user for a long period of time.”

Cuomo acknowledged vaping can be helpful for people trying to quit smoking, but he said it should be used only as a last resort for smokers who have tried patches, gums and other smoking-cessation methods.

“I liken them to the choice between hitting myself on the head with a metal pipe and hitting myself on the head with a wooden stick,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he would not be surprised if the ban is challenged in court. “This is big money,” he said.

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Cuomo said only tobacco- and nicotine-flavored vaping products will be allowed for sale in New York state once the ban is implemented. There is evidence that nicotine-flavored vaping products can help nicotine-cigarette smokers kick the habit, the governor said, but the state will ban nicotine vaping products if health department officials ultimately determine they are not useful as smoking-cessation tools.

The New York State police and the Department of Health will immediately crack down on retailers who sell vaping products to underage consumers. Retailers who are caught selling the products to kids could lose licenses to sell beer, alcohol, lotter tickets and other products, the governor said.

Cuomo’s announcement comes after federal health officials have linked hundreds of illnesses and a half-dozen deaths nationwide to vaping products. Sunday’s announcement is the latest move by his administration to limit young people’s access to e-cigarettes. He directed the Department of Health to investigate companies that produce vaping substances last week and signed a bill in July that raises the legal age to buy the products from 18 to 21. That law is effective Nov. 13.

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President Trump announced last week that the Food and Drug Administration would issue a nationwide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The president appeared to pull back from that stance in a tweet on Friday, when he said the focus should be on eliminating counterfeit vaping products from the market.

Cuomo accused Trump of bowing to lobbying efforts by e-cigarette manufacturers and said New York State can’t wait for the federal government to act. He likened Trump’s change in tone to his reaction to mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The president called for checks after those deadly incidents, but pulled back his support under pressure from the National Rifle Association.

“I believe their money can by Washington,” Cuomo said of e-cigarette companies and lobbyists. “So what do you do? Let the state act.”

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