New York is now the first state in the country to ban flavored e-cigarettes, made official by a vote yesterday (September 17) by the Public Health and Health Planning Council.
The statewide ban takes effect immediately and now gives vape shops about two weeks to clear their shelves of all flavored e-liquids, except for tobacco and menthol flavors.
It comes days after Gov. Cuomo issued emergency recommendations on Sunday.
Enforcement visits to these stores by state and local law enforcement will begin on Monday, October 4.
Retailers who violate the ban will face fines of up to $2,000 per It violation, defined as each unit of flavored e-liquid or product containing e-liquid that is possessed, manufactured, sold or offered for sale.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, and by banning flavored e-cigarettes we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy and potentially deadly life-long habits.”
Cuomo also directed State Police and the Department of Health to ramp up enforcement against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties.
He also plans to advance legislation banning the deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children.
Flavors are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes among youth.
In a 2017 survey of 15 to 17 year-old adolescents in New York State currently using electronic vapor products, 19% of the adolescents said that flavors were the reason that they first tried an e-cigarette and 27% said flavors were the reason for maintaining use.
Overall, high school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%).
Studies also show nearly 78% of high school students and 75% of middle school students report being exposed to pro-tobacco marketing in 2016.