The Slatest

New York Governor Seeks to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes Through Emergency Order

A man smokes an electronic cigarette in New York on November 15, 2017.
A man smokes an electronic cigarette in New York on November 15, 2017.
JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images

New York could soon become the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes after Michigan after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he would move to enact a statewide ban on the sale of the product. “Vaping is dangerous. Period,” Cuomo said on Sunday. “No one can say long-term use of vaping—where you’re inhaling steam and chemicals deep into your lungs—is healthy.”

Cuomo took particular aim at flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy that are “obviously targeted to young people.” In the plan outlined by Cuomo, a little known regulatory body would issue an emergency regulation to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The ban would then come into effect as early as Oct. 4, although officials will spend about two weeks warning retailers before beginning to enforce the ban.

The move by Cuomo illustrates the increasing health concerns around vaping and the way young people are increasingly picking up the habit. But in a nod to the way e-cigarettes have been proven to be beneficial for those seeking to quit smoking, Cuomo said tobacco and menthol-flavored products would not be included in the ban. Those exceptions led to criticism from the American Lung Association. “While today’s announcement was well-intentioned, it will drive our youth to use menthol-flavored products in even greater numbers,” said Harold Wimmer, the association’s president.

The ban would come at a time when President Donald Trump has said his administration is also looking into banning flavored e-cigarettes. But Cuomo said he wanted to act quickly. “Who knows where the federal government is?” he said. “I’m not going to wait for the federal government.”