Vape Ban Disrupts Industry in the City, State

Governor Cuomo Makes a Move to Ban Vaping Products

Photo from Time.com

On September 15th New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would introduce an executive action that would place a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes in New York state. Gov. Cuomo said the action would ban all flavors but tobacco and menthol. The decision to exempt tobacco and menthol flavors came as, according to Cuomo, flavored products are “highly attractive to young people.” Cuomo further stated that 68% of e-cigarette users use flavored products. New York state health officials voted to carry out Gov. Cuomo’s executive action on Sept. 17th, therefore, banning all products but tobacco and menthol for 90 days as a part of “emergency legislation” which would have to be renewed in December if the state deemed it necessary to continue the ban. 

Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the Health Department would look into menthol flavoring to decide whether or not it should be banned as well. Dr. Zucker presented data in support of his claims that showed New York state high school student use of tobacco products rose 160% in-between the years of 2014 and 2018. As of Sept. 14th, there are 74 confirmed cases of people who suffered serious lung illness after the use of vaping products in New York state alone, aside from the 7 confirmed deaths nationwide according to the Center for Disease Control. 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Sept. 4th that Michigan would be the first state to introduce a ban on e-cigarettes virtually banning vaping products including menthol. It was 2 weeks later when New York followed with a ban. Additionally, California is exploring how they can limit the amount of youth abusing e-cigarettes in the hope of preventing more deaths and illnesses. California Governor Gavin Newsom said that if the state legislature “sent a bill his way” he would sign it into effect. Michigan and New York are criticizing the federal government because of their lack of participation in the “epidemic”. The Trump administration also proposed a new enforcement policy that would require e-cigarette makers to take their flavored products off the market, but when questioned on a timeline of implementation the administration had no comment. Some advocates within anti-vaping associations and committees state they want the Cuomo to go further with the ban and restrict menthol flavor as well; however, Cuomo was not banning menthol yet because that particular flavor may be “helpful for cigarette smokers who are trying to quit” said Cuomo. He added that menthol may end up being banned in the future. US Food and Drug Administration research shows that newer smokers prefer menthol to tobacco flavoring and menthol flavoring is “likely associated with increased smoking initiation by youth and young adults,” at least where cigarettes are concerned.