Executive action announced Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will ban flavored e-cigarettes sales in New York amid ongoing public health concerns stemming from vaping and associated illnesses.
Cuomo at a news conference on Sunday morning said the move was to curtail the use of e-cigarettes among young people.
“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said. “We will ban all flavors besides tobacco and menthol.”
Cuomo announced the ban several days after his administration signaled the Department of Health would investigate vaping companies and issue subpoenas. Cuomo also last week signed a bill expanding tobacco education programs to include e-cigarette usage.
The executive action announced Sunday banning flavored e-cigarettes will be enforced by the State Police and the Department of Health against retailers who sell products to underage customers.
Cuomo said there are number of items in the state’s “toolbox” to enforce the ban, including civil and criminal penalties and the loss of state licenses.
Meanwhile, Cuomo plans also plans to introduce a bill that will ban the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people.
Cuomo compared the issue to fighting opioid addiction. His administration last week announced a $2 billion lawsuit against drug makers and distributors over the increase in insurance costs as a result of the addiction crisis.
“In my mind I don’t think it’s an outrageous parallel to say look at the work we’re doing now with the opioid companies,” Cuomo said.
“They sold pain medication that they knew was highly addictive, that they circulated, they advertised, they distributed. It created hydrocodone, oxycontin, it created addictions in the users, which then provided their business relationship with more customers.”
President Donald Trump has endorsed a ban on flavored e-cigarette ban last week, but Cuomo said the federal government needs to do more.
“First, we heard signals that maybe the administration understood this and they were going to be responsive,” Cuomo said.
“Then we get a tweet suggesting the exact opposite. I’m not waiting for the federal government to come protect the people of the state of New York.”