New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that flavored vaping products, which range from cotton candy to fruit flavors, target teens.
In hopes of stemming the use of vape products among high schoolers, New York State has banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes on Wednesday (Sept. 18).
The ban, which takes effect immediately, makes it illegal to sell vapes that have flavors other than tobacco or menthol. All other flavors need to be removed from stores within two weeks, Time reported.
In New York, 27% of high schoolers and 40% of high school seniors use e-cigarettes. Flavored products, which range from cotton candy to fruit flavors, target teens, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, when he proposed the ban.
He said, “These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people.”
The state Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the ban on Wednesday.
Lawmakers across the country are scrambling to regulate use of vapes, especially among teenagers. Although sale of e-cigarettes is limited to people 18 and older, the use of vapes among high school students has skyrocketed.
Officials say this is driven by the promotion of flavored products. With a recent spate of lung disease, and several deaths, linked to vape use, officials have become even more concerned.
Last week the Trump administration announced that it had plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement, “The Trump administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities.”
Prior to that, on September 3, Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored vape products, but the new policy has yet to take effect. “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said at the time.
Although there is clearly a public health concern, people who sell vapes say that lawmakers are overstepping. Some of them are even considering a legal challenge to the new bans, said Mike Kruger, who owns an Albany, New York vape shop.
“We are bypassing the legislative process,” Kruger said. “Vaping has been around for 12 years. And now this.”
However, the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, which dominates the vape market, has said that it will comply with regulations, and it recognizes the need to better control flavored products.
“We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products,” Juul spokesman Austin Finan said in response to the proposed federal ban. He noted that the company “will fully comply with local laws and the final FDA policy when effective.”