Panel approves ban on sale of flavored e-cigs in New York

Gov. Cuomo pushed for emergency ban Sunday

Tom Puckett
September 17, 2019 - 5:36 pm

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NEW YORK (AP/WBEN) - A state health panel has approved an emergency ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes in New York.

The vote Tuesday by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the ban goes into effect immediately. The ban does not cover tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarettes. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from shelves.  

Brian Ellis of Yeti Vapes heard the decision while on with WBEN's Tom Bauerle Tuesday afternoon. "I'm just shaking my head, because I have the evidence, I have the facts, and frankly for the state to do this, I'm beside myself," says Ellis. "We need to work together with state leaders. We have an advocacy group that is very passionate about this industry. Hopefully we can sit down and work our way through this ban and save this industry going forward."
 

Ellis warns this could lead to a lot of vaping stores with out of business signs. "92 percent of the flavors we offer I can now not sell them. If you go to any vaping store or anyplace that sells vapor products, you've got three options, tobacco, menthol or unflavored," says Ellis. "This is not a defeat for vapors in New York. There are going to be ripples where the stone was cast. There's also a real threat to the vaping industry in other states, because they're going to look to New York."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the emergency ban Sunday, citing surging use among young people. New York becomes the first state to enact the ban. Michigan approved a ban but rules have not yet been put into place.  

Earlier in the day before the ban was approved, CJ Johnston of Vapor Trail was protesting the ban outside the Skyway project winning design announcement, which Cuomo attended. "This is upsetting because people are trying to get away from traditional cigarettes," says Johnston. "When people want to get away from something, they're don't want something that reminds them of what they're trying to get away from. We like flavors, we're adults, we're allowed to like flavors."

Johnston says the state is treating him and other vaping users like children. "You go to 7-11 for a candy bar? Children do that too. It's ridiculous we're not allowed to like these things. I do not believe in marketing to children, no one should be selling to minors," says Johnston.

He's also volunteering himself for tests on vaping's effect on health. "I've now been vaping longer than I've been smoking. I've been vaping for 12 years. He says there's not a long term test that's been done. I'm a perfect test subject. Let's go to the doctors and have me tested," Johnston challenges Cuomo. 

Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.  

They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths.

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