New York State has announced a ban on the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes in an attempt to prevent nicotine addiction and health issues.
Stories of vaping-related illnesses seem to be coming thick and fast recently, with one teen left with lungs like a 70-year-old and a mum-of-three put in a coma after developing an illness allegedly related to the devices.
At a press conference on Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavoured electronic cigarettes and vaping items.
A range of flavours are available, including cotton candy, bubblegum and vanilla, options which Cuomo believes are clearly aimed at a younger audience.
The move is an attempt to stop young people getting their hands on the devices, which could cause them to become addicted to nicotine from a young age.
In a statement, Cuomo commented:
New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency.
Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavoured 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.
BREAKING: Today I am announcing emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
-State Police and DOH to ramp up enforcement against retailers who sell to underage youth
-We will advance legislation to eliminate deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to youth
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 15, 2019
Cuomo also said, simply, ‘vaping is dangerous’.
Another reason for the ban is the unknown health concerns surrounding vaping and the use of e-cigarettes as the governor explained ‘we do not know the long term-term health effects of the use of the product’.
Earlier this month, officials stated there were 450 possible cases of vaping-related health issues across 33 US states and one territory.
The vaping industry has reportedly hit back at Cuomo’s arguments by repeatedly stating it’s a healthier alternative to smoking, but the official responded by saying ‘so what?’
Smoking is terrible. It’s virtually a high-risk potential death situation. Vaping is better than that, but that’s not saying much.
E-cigarette brand JUUL has said they will review Cuomo’s executive action, but spokeperson Austin Finan said the company ‘strongly agree[s] with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavoured products.’
Cuomo added devices are often used to vape other substances, such as THC.
For now, the state’s ban does not include menthol products, which could be used to help transition menthol cigarette smokers away from tobacco. The Department of Health will continue to examine data.
Cuomo is instructing the state police to coordinate with Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to prevent store owners from selling vaping products to minors.
It is theoretically a criminal offense.
It is also patently obvious when you say “40 per cent of the 12 graders report vaping and e-cigarette use” that people under 18 are purchasing these products.
Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker will hold a meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council this coming week that will formally put the ban in place.
After that, stores will have a two-week grace period to get the flavored products off the shelves.
— WeVapeWeVote (@wevapewevote) September 15, 2019
The governor’s office said his executive order will advance legislation which aims to eliminate deceptive marketing practices of e-cigarettes to underage users and raises the purchasing age of e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 years old.
Zucker will hold an emergency meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council this week to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.
The Cuomo administration would like to start enforcing the executive order by October 4.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.