Cuomo administration plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes

NEW YORK  — Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as soon as next year, possibly making New York the first state to prohibit such vaping products often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

A spokesman for the Democratic governor told The Wall Street Journal his administration would soon republish regulations banning the sale or possession of flavored e-cigarettes. The regulations could then be adopted after a 60-day period of public comment.

New Yorkers have mixed feelings. “Anything that is legal but attractive for underage people, they gotta regulate,” says Steven Turner. “As far as regulating I think there should be some say, but as far as restrictions I think it goes back on the parents. You gotta be in control of your kids,” adds Rich Usowicz.

In September the FDA gave several major e-cigarette manufacturers 60 days to come up with a plan to curb underage use. The deadline expires this weekend. Tobacco companies claim their products are not geared toward teens but instead help adults transition from tobacco cigarettes.

Spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Cuomo "is very concerned about the rise in youth e-cigarette use."

“The proposed regulations have been withdrawn pending one more round of legal review and will be refiled soon,” said Jonah Bruno, Director of Public Information for the State Department of Health.

Vaping is illegal for minors in many states, but students say they can buy them online or from adults.

According to the agency vaping among high school students has soared 160% in 4 years from 10.4% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

The New York City Health Department agrees more needs to be done. “We think these policies on the federal and state level are so important,” says Sonia Angell, Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health. “In the end we need to find a way to protect our youth.”

In response to the FDA plan, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Juul Labs Inc. has decided to stop selling most of its flavored nicotine liquids at retail stores, and will instead have them only available on their web site. The e-cigarette company plans to keep menthol and tobacco-flavored products in stores.