Emergency regulation was approved by New York’s Department of Health at a meeting on September 17. Officials said the ban will go into effect immediately, making New York the first state where a flavored vaping ban will take effect.
New York’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, said nearly 40% of high school seniors used e-cigarettes, which health officials believe has surged due to flavored vapes. Zucker said in a statement that the high numbers of vaping among young people is nothing short of a "public health crisis," especially in view of the state’s 74 cases of vaping-related lung illness, reported as of this writing.
"The data demonstrates the need for urgent action," Zucker said. "We cannot wait for the legislative session to begin, which is in January. We cannot wait for federal action."
Nationally the increase is even steeper.
While e-cigarettes were intended to help adult cigarette smokers wean off tobacco, 3.6 million teens are now vaping around the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to a study done by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2018 e-cigarette use among high school students rose by 78 percent – from 12% to 20%
"It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch, and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes…it's a public health crisis and it ends today," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, reported by NBC.
“We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices,” Cuomo.
New York Backlash
The ban on every vape flavor except menthol and tobacco will choke an industry made up of mostly mom-and-pop shops, said the New York State Vapor Association.
"As soon as the ban goes into place, every vape shop in New York will be closed within 30 days, maybe less,” Spike Babaian, an analyst for the trade group, told the New York Daily News.
“We can’t afford to be closed or not sell a product that makes up 90% of what we sell,” Babaian added.
Vape shop owners say they’re considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote.
Juul Labs, the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.