Lawmakers Could Vote on Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes

Menthol tobacco cigarettes could also be banned

Tom Puckett
January 15, 2020 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) State lawmakers could soon vote to ban flavored e-cigarettes as well as traditional menthol cigarettes, as early as next week. One state senator says it's too early for such a vote.

"We don't have a full body of research that shows e-cigarettes are unhealthy for people," State Senator Patrick Gallivan. "Vaping products can provide a valuable service for people trying to quit smoking. The deaths documented largely by people not smoking legal products, they got them off the streets. That caused problems." . 

Gallivan says it's too early for his colleagues to conduct such a vote because right now, they don't have well informed decisions. "If it's proven vaping is dangerous, we should move to ban vaping in general, not distinguish between menthol and flavored products and not. People are just jumping the gun ahead of research," believes Gallivan.

Governor Cuomo's emergency ban on most flavored e-cigarettes last fall in response to worries that vaping may cause illnesses and that its use is growing among teenagers who say they’re attracted by flavorings was again blocked by a judge last week, concerned about exemptions for tobacco and menthol flavors.

Andrew Osborne of Vapor Trail says Cuomo's trying to work around the ban. "The governor was just told by the courts the flavor ban is not legal, and now his response is to double down with legislation. I think this will again be challenged in court," says Osborne.

Osborne fears such a ban will force consumers to go to a dangerous black market. "This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and to wipe it off the map and assume it won't be picked up by more nefarious people than us, you're mistaken. You're going to create a new kind of drug dealers and the end result will be much more people being sick because they're vaping black market products," says Osborne. 

Osborne says millions of New Yorkers would die over the next couple of decades if the ban is approved. "By closing all the businesses, we're creating an exponentially larger problem we're not prepared to handle," warns Osborne.

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