New York moves to en­act statewide fla­vored e-cig ban

The Morning Call - - NATION & WORLD -

NEW YORK — New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo is push­ing to en­act a statewide ban on the sale of fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes amid grow­ing health con­cerns con­nected to va­p­ing, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple.

The Demo­crat an­nounced Sun­day that the state health com­mis­sioner would be mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion this week to the state Public Health and Health Plan­ning Coun­cil. The coun­cil can is­sue emer­gency reg­u­la­tions that would go into ef­fect as soon as they are voted on and start being en­forced in as soon as two weeks, fol­low­ing a short grace pe­riod for re­tail­ers, of­fi­cials said.

In an­nounc­ing the ac­tion, Cuomo sharply crit­i­cized the fla­vors that are for sale, like bub­ble gum and cot­ton candy.

“These are ob­vi­ously tar­geted to young peo­ple and highly ef­fec­tive at tar­get­ing young peo­ple,” he said.

The big­gest player in the in­dus­try, Juul Labs Inc., said it was reviewing the an­nounce­ment, but agreed with the need for ac­tion.

The ban would not im­pact to­bacco- and men­thol-fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes, but Cuomo said the Depart­ment of Health would con­tinue eval­u­at­ing and that could change.

Cuomo signed leg­is­la­tion ear­lier this year rais­ing the statewide smok­ing age to 21, and ear­lier this month signed a man­date that re­quires state an­ti­to­bacco cam­paigns to also in­clude va­p­ing.

Va­p­ing is also un­der a fed­eral spot­light, as health au­thor­i­ties look into hun­dreds of breath­ing ill­nesses re­ported in peo­ple who have used e-cig­a­rettes and other va­p­ing de­vices.

In his first public com­ments on va­p­ing, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pro­posed a sim­i­lar fed­eral ban last week.

The FDA has been able to ban va­p­ing fla­vors since 2016, but hasn’t taken the step, with of­fi­cials look­ing into whether fla­vors could help cig­a­rette smok­ers to quit.

The global mar­ket is es­ti­mated to have a value of as much as $11 bil­lion. The in­dus­try has spent a lot of money in states around the coun­try to lobby against state-level fla­vored eci­garette bans, in states in­clud­ing Hawaii, Cal­i­for­nia, Maine and Con­necti­cut.

Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer ear­lier this month or­dered that state’s health depart­ment to come out with emer­gency rules to pro­hibit fla­vored e-cig­a­rette sales.

HANS PENNINK/AP

New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo says he’s di­rect­ing state health of­fi­cials to ban the sale of fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes.

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