Flavored E-Cigarette Ban Will Soon Include All Menthol Varieties

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Governor Cuomo said yesterday (September 26) that New York’s statewide flavored e-cigarette ban will soon include all menthol varieties, as well.

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A ban announced last week prohibited the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes in New York State, except for menthol and tobacco flavors.

Yesterday, Cuomo accepted a new recommendation from the state health department to include menthol on that list, which is expected to be made official as soon as this weekend.

“It is clear that vape and e-cigarette companies are using flavors to get young people hooked on their products, and in New York we have taken several actions to put an end to this marketing tactic,” Governor Cuomo said. “In addition to the ban on flavored e-cigarettes already in place and after a thorough evaluation, Commissioner Zucker has recommended a ban on menthol flavored e-cigarettes – I am accepting his recommendation and directing him to hold an emergency meeting to adopt this additional ban at the earliest practicable date. We can’t sit back and wait for the federal government to take action while a whole new generation becomes addicted to nicotine, and this ban on the sale of menthol flavors further enhances our efforts to protect young people from forming dangerous lifelong habits.”

As the newest restrictions are being considered, some key players in the vaping industry are already suing the State of New York for its flavored e-cigarette ban.

The industry’s trade group and two New York-based vaping companies filed in state court this week against both the state health department and public health council.

Vape retailers across the state now face a looming deadline to remove all banned products from their shelves before enforcement visits from the state begin on Monday.

A recent review involved multiple studies from medical institutions, along with the distribution of a CDC survey given to New York State teenagers aged 15 to 17 years old by the State Department of Health. The survey was conducted in the Spring of 2019 and the analysis was finalized last week.

It found that young people in New York are using menthol flavored e-cigarettes at high rates that are only increasing with other flavors now being banned. Specific findings include:

  • The teenagers’ preference for menthol or mint flavored e-cigarettes was 34.1%, second only to fruit flavors (51.8%).
  • Adolescent vapers preference for menthol or mint increased from 19.9% in 2017 to 34.1% in 2019, a statistically significant difference.
  • When asked, “How harmful to your health do you think menthol or mint flavors of e-liquids are,” nearly half of the youth (47.8%) believed menthol flavored e-liquid was less harmful than tobacco flavored e-liquid.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker:

“After careful consideration, it is clear that this research definitively supports the inclusion of menthol in the ban of flavored e-cigarettes. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we will continue to take aggressive steps to protect the public health of all New Yorkers, especially our young people.”

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